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Saturday, December 07, 2019 — Houston, TX 65°

Here’s the tea on The Hoot’s new sandwich

Channing Wang/Thresher

By Carlos Tafur     9/24/19 9:16pm

Rating: ★★★½☆

The start of this semester has brought with it a major change in the menu of student-run business The Hoot. Rather than serving Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, which were removed from The Hoot’s menu at the end of last year, the late night snack stand is now offering Smashburger chicken sandwiches. With all the buzz around this change, and a freshly bolstered tetra balance, I couldn’t wait to try the new sandwich for myself. 

I went into the experience with very mixed expectations. While I was excited about the Smashburger sandwich, a couple friends told me they had just tried it right as I was about to venture over to the Rice Memorial Center. The news was grim; one friend described it as “the worst chicken sandwich” he had ever had. Still, I knew I had to try it for myself. 

Upon unwrapping, the sandwich made a  subpar first impression. The buns felt somewhat hard and the pickles looked pale and dry. I took my first bite without any condiments, leaving the sandwich in its purest form. It was admittedly not a strong start. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly dry and bland the sandwich was. Without an ounce of hesitation, I smothered the thing in a sauce that I’ve been told is either “Smash Sauce” or “just mustard.” In any case, the mystery sauce revolutionized my experience. With the dryness out of the way, some of the better qualities of the sandwich were easier to appreciate: The chicken was satisfyingly crunchy, and the buns were actually nicely toasted.

At  the time of writing this review, I’ve actually had the Smashburger chicken sandwich five times now. While the majority of my initial feelings remain the same, I’ve found that the quality is a little inconsistent; not all Smashburger chicken sandwiches are created equal. 

So, how does it compare to the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich? 

Bluntly, the Smashburger chicken sandwich is a step down in quality from the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. Variety of flavor is lost since there is no spicy option for the Smashburger sandwich. It’s also worth mentioning that the Smashburger sandwich will cost you $4.50, whereas the Chick-fil-A sandwiches came in at $4 for the regular sandwich and $4.50 for the spicy option. 

Still, the Smashburger chicken sandwich remains a solid option when you’re looking for a chicken sandwich within walking distance late at night. With tetra deposits upped to $100 per semester rather than the $50 of semesters past, the change in price isn’t too stressful on the ID. I’d say the Smashburger chicken sandwich from The Hoot is a solid 6/10 -   7/10 on a good day and with some Raising Cane’s sauce. While I’m holding out hope that a higher quality chicken sandwich option becomes available, I’ve gotta give props to The Hoot for incorporating their company values into their business practices and looking beyond just the sales.

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