I have never been to the Sawtelle location, but I’ve always been interested in going. I was delighted to hear it was opening in my neighborhood on Fairfax. I went for lunch yesterday on Saturday. The room is spacious and was about 30-40% full. I had a perfectly nice server who gave me some seemingly good suggestions. I ordered the fried chicken sandwich based on previously read internet hype and the server’s own mini-hype, along with some sweet potato fries. I also ordered a house made vanilla soda, that tasted like a somewhat flat, watered down cream soda, but pleasant enough that I drank it all. The fries and the sandwich came out remarkably fast which raised my suspicions a bit. The fries were good, but not noteworthy. The peach ketchup that came along side was tasty, but just as good as the bottled TJ’s peach salsa one can readily purchase down the street. The sandwich was a bit gangly, with two pieces of chicken crossing each other awkwardly inside the bun. It was thigh meat, which I am not a big fan of, especially at this price point. And to be sure, it was sort of grey with flaccid and under-rendered skin. Of greater concern was the “smoke” level of the chicken. It was very pronounced. And it seemed to do battle with the equally strong flavors of the pickles and the spicy cheese. It was rather discordant on my palate. And it traveled with me the rest of the day. Despite various hand washings, that “liquid smoke” scent didn’t leave my finger tips for the next five hours.
I’m willing to consider extraneous variables that may have contributed to my disappointment: the very, very newness of the restaurant, the particular items I ordered, etc. I was so looking forward to enjoying this meal and I am wondering if other posters can either validate my experience, or possibly steer me in a different direction for a better experience in the future.