TERRY’S PICKY PALATE / Sampling the chicken of the gods at Joe’s Chicken Shack on Duval

My era of late-night carousing on Duval Street may have long since passed, but I’ll always be eager to sample delicious food at any hour of the day or night.
This time around, I was sent to an early afternoon appointment at Joe’s Chicken Shack, located at the Bourbon Street Pub entertainment complex, at 722 Duval St. As the name suggests JCS’s raison d’etre is chicken. Cooked how? Let me count the ways . . .
Though I’d heard rave reviews from friends and family about this casual dine-in/take-out eatery, nothing prepared me for the variety and quality of the culinary offerings at Joe’s. Eager to have me sample a wide variety of Joe’s specialties, General Manager Tim Bunn laid out a feast for me: A Chicken Pot Pie; a Chicken Salad Wrap; a breast of genuine “Broaster” chicken; a Tater Tots Casserole; a side of White Cheddar Mac and Cheese; an Antipasti Salad; and a Bacon and Chive Potato Salad.
 I started with the Chicken Pot Pie, which is among the ‘Shack’s top sellers. The pastry, corn, carrots, and other ingredients were great, but it was the chicken itself that transformed this American comfort food classic to an out-of-this-world delicious, and filling meal in itself.
“So far this year, I’ve sold about 3,200 of them,” Bunn said. “That number would be even higher, if not for Irma. We get a lot of customers asking for the pies, based on word of mouth.”
Next up, I attacked the Chicken Salad Wrap, which was another taste sensation. The filling is lightly seasoned, allowing the mouth-watering taste of the sumptuous chicken to shine on through.
After taking a small breather to make room for more chow, I sampled the Broaster breast itself. This was easily the greatest fried chicken I’ve ever had the pleasure of gorging myself on.
The secret to Joe’s food is that, aside from its new (and wonderful) rotisserie chicken, the birds used in their products are all Broasted, a process during which the chicken is marinated in a water-based brine, before being cooked in a pressurized fryer. Since water repels oil, the oil from the fryer doesn’t penetrate the meat, resulting in chicken that’s crisp on the outside, and juicy on the inside, without serving as a sponge for the oil.
It sure made a believer out of me, and when I was ready to start eating again, I started in on the sides. In a nutshell, they were all outstanding, and more than a cut-above the type of food one expects to encounter on Duval Street at any time of the day or night.
I especially enjoyed the Tater Tots Casserole, which I’ve never seen offered anywhere else on the island, and the Antipasti Salad which offered up chunks of salami, green olives, rotini, and cherry tomatoes. It was the bomb!
To wash down this fantastic feast, I ordered a Fanta Orange, though for those who wish, a selection of canned beer and certain spirits such as Jack Daniel’s, are available. The prices for everything in the eatery are downright reasonable.
I can’t recommend Joe’s Chicken Shack highly enough, and as I left I understood why, in the words of owner Joey Schroeder, “the chicken is just flying out the door.”
Head on in to this four-year-old comfort food haven and let your taste buds take wing!”
Joe’s Chicken Shack is open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Credit cards are accepted. Some seating is available. Delivery is also available.
For delivery, or more information, call 305-296-0148, email JoesChickenShack722@gmail.com or visit http://www.joes-chicken-shack.com/Joes_Chicken_Shack/Home.html