May 11, 2021


We know our pets

Portillo’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich with Giardiniera Sauce

portillo's spicy chicken sandwich

Photo: Dennis Lee

If we really do not make it obvious ample, The Takeout is really happy of getting based mostly in Chicago. We adore our community traditions and our community chains, and just one in distinct that has a huge tender spot in our hearts is Portillo’s. If you are from all over below (or if you’ve eaten at one particular of the destinations in California, Arizona, or Florida), you’ll mostly know Portillo’s for its gold-normal natural casing Chicago-design and style sizzling pet dogs and Italian beef.

But suitable now Portillo’s is hoping one thing sneaky: a spicy fried hen sandwich. That is right. Even our hometown cannot resist jumping in into this gladiator pit full of chicken feathers. The chicken sandwich is only in its take a look at stage, available at 18 places in Illinois and Indiana. But at this stage, a plain aged fried chicken sandwich is not ample to seize everyone’s small focus spans and maintain their stomachs occupied. So how does a hometown chain choose on something previous and make it new once again? The remedy is a thing that Portillo’s is contacting Hot Giardiniera Sauce, which is not too significantly off from giardiniera mayo.

Giardiniera is the quintessential Chicago condiment. The spicy pickled vegetable mix—usually some mixture of sport peppers or serranos, carrots, cauliflower, celery, environmentally friendly olives, onion, and garlic, all soaked in oil—is perfect for sandwiches, notably Italian beef. Portillo’s appreciates how a lot we adore our giardiniera, so the restaurant blitzed it up with some “creamy sizzling sauce” (or mayo?), betting that this’ll be the bait that gets us hooked.

top down photo of fried chicken sandwich

Photograph: Dennis Lee

The Portillo’s spicy rooster sandwich is or else the standard mixture of fried hen patty, lettuce, and tomato on a brioche bun. Apart from the Chicago-ified mayo, it’s very much the similar as Wendy’s spicy rooster sandwich. I imply, why mess with a completely excellent point, specially when you know it’ll offer?

underside of the top bun of chicken sandwich, with sauce visible

Picture: Dennis Lee

I continue to hate these lid-open up sandwich shots because they are normally sort of gross, but if you had been curious, the Warm Giardiniera Sauce has an orange tint and seen bits of the condiment chopped up in it. Woo! But is that plenty of to make a significant big difference in the spicy rooster sandwich turf wars?

Sad to say, by by itself, no. Following a couple bites, you don’t seriously recognize the sauce all that a lot, if at all, unless of course you’re concentrating incredibly challenging. It’s mainly there to maintain the sandwich from finding much too dry most of the medium-amount spice is in the breading on the hen patty. That mentioned, the sandwich general is rather good, and I certainly want it over Wendy’s. Even just after a minor little bit of transit time (15 minutes) the hen stayed wonderful and crunchy and was not dried out.

I feel what would have been a lot more progressive in a less difficult, much more subversive way would have been to increase unadulterated giardiniera to the sandwich. Then it’d be like staking a religious declare to it, Chicago-type. Great issue you can just request for the unique chunky things if you’d like. You can also obtain the Warm Giardiniera Sauce on the facet for dipping I envision it’d be quite great with onion rings.

So, for those of you who have a dread of lacking out on these types of issues, I am in this article to inform you that you’re not missing out on anything at all monumental. But if you’ve acquired an itch that only a fried chicken sandwich can scratch, it’ll undoubtedly hit the place, and better than some other place’s choices (once again, this kind of as Wendy’s). As well as Portillo’s has cheese fries and a chocolate cake shake (way superior than a Frosty, if you check with me). People are main advertising details.

As I pointed out, the spicy hen sandwich is presently only in a tiny take a look at zone, but do not be stunned if you see it at Portillo’s nationwide later on this yr.