Winner: Not So Fried Chicken
Restaurant: Mendocino Farms, Los Angeles
Price: $10.85 to $11.95, depending on location
Food cost: $2.38-$2.63
Creator: Judy Han, chef emeritus
Ingredients: Shaved chicken breast with herb aïoli, mustard-pickle vinaigrette with cabbage slaw, pickled red onions, tomatoes and Mendo “krispies,” bits of fried polenta, all bundled onto toasted ciabatta.
What makes it special: The best part of fried chicken is the battered skin, right? The goal was to create a guilt-free, more healthful version of a fried chicken sandwich. The chicken is layered with bits of buttermilk batter made with polenta and fried, which became known as the “krispie.” It gives the sandwich — by far the chain’s top seller — crunch that evokes biting into fried-chicken skin, but keeps it light.