By now you’ve probably realized by my waistline, that a big food trend right now is fried chicken. Thankfully we have all kinds of fried chicken options in Montreal. Our own Kentucky Fried Chicken at Dinette Triple Crown and a southern version at Icehouse. Korean Fried chicken at spots like, Comon, Dawa, Mon Ami, Olivia’s Authentic Chicken, and Corrilla to name a few. To take the chicken craze to the next level, everyone’s is pushing a signature fried chicken sandwich. I had to look into the one that’s making the most waves right now. This week I check out the newest player is the chicken game Cali in Laval.
The same team that’s behind the Laval hotspot Manti for delicious Armenian brunch brings you Cali. It started as wildly popular a pop-up that got out of hand. Operating out of Manti for several months, Cali recently moved into their own location to accommodate the massively overwhelming response to their chicken. They don’t actually serve a HOT chicken sandwich, but their fried chicken sandwich… it’s so hot right now.
The menu is pretty straight forward; a few main dishes and sides. Chicken sandwich, tenders, wraps and a brunch item with French toast on weekends. You can turn all the menu items into a trio; add fries and a drink for an extra fee. The chicken tenders were delicious. The batter was flavourful and the fry on the chicken was crunchy. Depending on how I’m feeling, I enjoy a crunchy bite of the batter barnacles to my fried chicken.
The tendies sat atop half a brioche bun and served with Cali’s highly addictive signature sauce. A creamy blend of spices that if I could, I would have replaced my drink with it. The bites of pickles were nice to cut through the richness of the sauce and chicken.
Cali’s signature sauce: A creamy blend of spices that if I could, I would have replaced my drink with it.
Cali Chicken Sandwich
Here it is. The thing that everyone is raving about; Cali’s chicken sandwich. A very LARGE and generous slab of fried chicken breast topped with their signature tangy sauce, vinegary coleslaw, slices of pickles, nestled between a toasted, buttered brioche bun. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender. Keep in mind that it remained so after I got around to eating it – a 20 minute drive home and photography time. Not drying out is a testament to their R&D. Thumbs up. The chicken itself was flavourful and highlighted by the seasoned batter, it worked perfectly with all the accoutrements.
We know that in-door dining is still not a thing. But don’t eat this in the car, but I’d understand if you can’t wait. It’s messy and you will regret getting home and not have a sandwich to dig into. I guess this is why there was a stack of napkins stuffed into my bag. For all the people who succumb to temptation and crush this thing in the parking lot in a fried chicken sandwich lust fog. They should call this the “A.K.A. The 10 napkin burger“.
Fried chicken lust fog: eating the sandwich in the parking lot in reckless abandon, not remembering the last 10 minutes of your life and finding saucy coleslaw finger prints on the rearview mirror and a stack of unused napkins.
Mac and Cheese
Cali serves a classic mac and cheese. Elbow pasta mixed with an incredibly thick and cheesy sauce. Clean and simple.
Using waffle fries is a great spin on the poutine. Topped with a load of squeaky cheese curds and traditional brown gravy. Cali missed an opportunity to have a fried chicken poutine. I can totally see this topped with chopped tenders and Cali sauce – as with the mac and cheese as well. When your restaurant specializes in fried chicken, you might as well. Why not? I haven’t eaten this much waffle fries since CEGEP. If you know, you know. At the end it was just a poutine and it was alright.
Some might not understand the fried chicken sandwich craze, and that’s ok. Not everyone is rooted in a reality that sees gluttonous objects of desire that has the ability to bring out the inner animal in everyone. Me. My reality. Cali specializes in fried chicken and I can see many opportunities to bulk up the menu with different options that satiate that communal thirst for crunch. Buckets of bone-in? Popcorn? Hot chicken? I’d start with a fried chicken on top of mac and cheese and poutine. Delicious food, FAST service and awesome location. The chicken sandwich is definitely worth the drive.
3873 Boulevard Saint-Martin Ouest, Laval, Quebec H7T 1L1