In April I had a chance to join some friends to check out the newish Crack Shack in Costa Mesa.
We arrived before 4pm when the cavernous dining area was starting to fill up with young moms and kids after school.
That timing did let us take advantage of the happy hour drink pricing.
However, the Jack Rosen cocktail (Whiskey sour) was soooo sweet, and the portion of IPA served in a curvy glass seemed tiny. The Sabine rosé was below average.
We ordered three different fried chicken preps: half of a whole bone-in jidori bird, boneless thigh (a bit dry), and the best one ... fried chicken oysters. Classic slaw, made with Napa cabbage, was heavy on the mayo but I liked the spicy heat of the Fresno chiles and pickles. Odd that it would be named "classic" though. Mexican poutine had dried out grilled chicken and the prep just made the schmaltz fries soggy without adding much. I'll order them plain next time.
I liked the bone-in chicken just fine. But oh those chicken oysters! Brined in pickle juice and lightly battered, the oyster is my very favorite bite of the bird anyway, and this treatment made something that's already great even more so.
Biscuits were just a touch rubbery. None of the sauces improved the very tasty chicken, in my opinion, and they kind of ran together for me.
Besides oodles of kids running around while their adult handlers get quietly sloshed, the Crack Shack is dog-friendly too.
Though my report might sound negative, I had a good time and mostly enjoyed my food. I'd happily return now that I know what to avoid. It was a quick hop from here in reverse commute traffic to drop me off at John Wayne airport,
The Crack Shack
196 E 17th St
Costa Mesa, California
Pro tip: The Costa Mesa branch is next to a car wash. Next time we'd drop off the vehicle for a wash while we eat.