Cindy, our friends Amy and Megan, and I met up at Coney Island today for some fun and relaxation by the water. Standing on the long, long ordering line at Nathan’s Famous, I spied a very strange food item among the hot dogs, fries, and burgers — Chicken Chow Mein, in both sandwich and bowl formats.
Up until that second, I had my heart set on a hot dog. I turned to Cindy and said,"Honey, I don’t think I can NOT order the Chicken Chow Mein."
For those that don’t know, Nathan’s Famous is a national fast food chain, and the Coney Island Nathan’s was their first restaurant with well-deserved praise for their fine grilled hot dogs and curly-cut fries. But why they would have Chicken Chow Mein on the menu is beyond comprehension.
I placed our order with much anticipation. There was some back-and-forth between the woman taking our order and one of the cooks in the back, possibly along the lines of "Can you believe someone actually order the Chow Mein Sandwich?"
Photos and commentary after the jump…
This is what the Chicken Chow Mein sandwich looks like. Notice the shiny cornstarch-y goo oozing off the end, and the crispy noodles sprinkled on top of it. It was pretty horrifying in appearance. But how would it taste?
One bite confirmed what I had suspected: it was the worst possible example of Chow Mein (which is already a horrible fake Chinese dish to start with) that I had ever tasted. It had absolutely no flavor, with bits of chicken, onion and celery floating in a tasteless,starchy gravy. It was like eating a cornstarch sandwich. I think I managed three bites.
I was left with the question: why would Nathan’s put such a yucky sandwich on their menu? My tentative conclusion after some internet research is that this is a "legacy" menu item, like the fried frogs legs, that was once a popular item on the menu that they keep available purely for nostalgic purposes. Because there is no other logical reason why they would offer such a revolting sandwich.