One of the truly fun aspects of writing a column like this is getting to try new places that I might not otherwise. Recently I had been hearing a lot of buzz about a chicken sandwich at a place in Mays Landing called Freddy J’s Bar & Kitchen. So I decided to take a ride out and see what the fuss was about.
In the last few years, the chicken sandwich has been having quite a moment for itself, thanks to fast food chains like Popeye’s, Chick-fil-A and even Burger King all stepping up their game in this department. This war has led to local restaurants and gastropubs jumping on the trend, as well, resulting in a heck of a lot of tasty chicken sandwiches suddenly popping up. This has been nothing but good news for me, as I’ve been a fan of these sandwiches since my days as a toddler back in the early ’80s, when I would routinely accompany my mother to the mall for a torturous few hours of shopping, quickly remedied by a delicious Chick-fil-A lunch.
The menu at Freddy J’s features two chicken sandwich options: the Crispy Chicken Sandwich; and the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. I went with the former. Here’s what I thought:
The Bread: A well-buttered, lightly toasted round brioche roll served as the vessel for this mighty chicken sammy, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with it. Soft and slightly sweet, the brioche trend is one that I fully embrace.
The Meats: In a rare and pleasant surprise, thigh meat was used for this sandwich, which scored huge points from me as I always prefer dark meat when it comes to chicken. The breading was thick and crunchy with just enough seasoning, and the addition of two strips of bacon brought forth a nice touch of smoke to the flavor profile.
The Cheese: Pepper jack can be overly spicy and sometimes dominates a sandwich, but, in this case, it fit in well, adding a touch of heat without beating you over the head with it.
The Veggies: It came with lettuce and tomato, but I can’t stand leaf lettuce, so it was immediately banished from the sandwich. I kept the tomato, though, as well as the slices of sweet and sour pickles that added acidity and a hint of sweetness and did a good job of countering the spiciness of the pepper jack.
The Condiments: Ranch dressing comes on it. I added mayo because that’s just what I do. No complaints.
The Bottom Line: Freddy J’s has put together a wonderful and hearty sandwich that checks all the boxes while adding its own delightful signature touches. If you love chicken sandwiches, you’ll love this one.
The Score: 8.2