A Quest For Chicken Tenders

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A Quest For Chicken Tenders

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Car horns blaring. A skyline filled with lights. Performers chasing their dreams. Food vendors on every corner. From March 14th -18th this spring, these were the sights I saw when I traveled to New York City with other students from the Kettle Moraine High School Choirs. The stories and experiences of NYC are vibrant and diverse, but one of the most important aspects of traveling to me is the food. As two students who are particular about what we eat, Dylan Hoppel and I decided to embark on a quest to find the best chicken tenders in New York City. Hoppel notes, “I am a man of simple tastes, with simple desires… I was constantly searching for the one food that I felt was truly safe: the chicken tender.”

Before entering the vast land of NYC, Hoppel and I discussed the qualities we wanted to see in each chicken tender we found. (Please note that taste is subject to opinion and can vary from person to person.) Hoppel sums up our requirements nicely: “A chicken tender is truly made great by having a succulent inner meat, while [maintaining] a nice crispy skin.”

The journey to find the best chicken tenders started at Dave N’ Busters, a nationwide chain restaurant and arcade. Hoppel notes that “Dave N’ Busters chicken tenders were very basic to me with a comforting, straightforward flavor.” We found that, after a long day of travel,  our hunger may have prevented us from an honest opinion, and according to Hoppel, “[Dave N’ Busters] suffered [because they] neglected to provide the condiment necessary for me to enjoy these tenders – ketchup.”

Our second restaurant was Schnipper’s, a retro-style joint that focuses on selling “good old-fashioned American food.” The service was fast and I thoroughly enjoyed their take on the chicken tender. Hoppel adds, “The only critique I have for them is to make the skin more crispy.”

On the third day of our search for the best tender, we ate lunch at the cafeteria inside the Metropolitan Art Museum. For a cafeteria-style location, The Met surprised us with a clean environment, a lot of options to choose from, and delicious food (including chicken tenders). Their chicken was fresh, had the right meat to breading ratio, and came in a portion large enough to share. When I asked Hoppel, he said, “I can honestly say that these tenders truly buttered my toast.”

The final stop on this quest was Gossip Bar and Restaurant. After eating delicious chicken tenders all week, Gossip required something special to catch our attention. Much to our dismay, their food was simple and hard to remember a mere few weeks later. Hoppel adds, “They did not have any strikingly good qualities, so I did not make a note to remember them.”

After four locations and two stomachs full of chicken tenders, Hoppel and I had a decision to make. Without a doubt, the restaurant whose recipe and product fits our definition of the best chicken tender was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They wowed us from the first bite to the last. Hoppel reminisced, saying, “I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to travel back to New York and be able to partake in them once again.”