For so, so long, chicken tenders have been the great default. They are the frozen meal you heat up for your kids when you get home at 5:30 p.m. and they need to be at their practices by 6:30 p.m. They are the staples of children’s menus, served with a sticky sweet sauce (or ketchup), the great default for parents of picky eaters or children with allergies.
But what if chicken tenders were all grown up? Bandits, located and run by the people who operate Smokey Bear just off of Whyte Avenue, is located in the basement underneath the parent restaurant. There are a few tables, flats of beer, and a fryer in the corner.
And this is where grown-up tenders are made. They are fried within metres of your table, and they come in servings of three, with choices of dipping sauces. But the thing is, after they’re fried, they’re generously covered in a spicy rub that reminds me, of all things, of the crawfish boils I’ve enjoyed in the American south. There’s almost an Old Bay quality to it. The chicken itself is juicy, and it goes oh so well with locally produced cans of beer on hand.
There’s also a variety of chicken sandwiches available, if you’re not in the mood for dipping.
Oh, and get the pasta salad as the side. Olives, green onions, and tomatoes ensure that it’s nothing like you’d find at a Sunday family gathering.
8223 104 Street NW, 587-759-0209 SMOKEYBEARYEG.COM/BANDITS
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