August 23, 2012

The Chicken or the Egg

The Chicken or the Egg in Beach Haven is well known not only locally, but also nationwide for having one of the most ridiculous challenges out there… The Ludicrous Challenge!! It got its nationwide notoriety when “Man vs. Food” star Adam Richman took on this insane challenge by eating 12 of the restaurant’s “Ludicrous” wings within 15 minutes. Locally, they are also very well known for being one of the best breakfast nooks in the area… hence the name: The Chicken or the Egg.

I’m not a hot head, and prefer to actually keep my taste buds in tact, so this particular challenge doesn’t make me want to come rushing to their door. But, it does have enough fame (not to mention the tons of “Suggest a Joint” requests) to make me want to see what all the fuss is about. And the timing couldn’t have been better as my sister invited us down to their beach house in LBI, which is where Beach Haven is…. I know, right, Destiny! How could I lose? A day at the beach, the company of great family, and WINGS!!!

Let’s fast forward past all the sunburn to the point when we are sitting down at the restaurant. “The Chegg,” as it’s also known, has a small beach town vibe to it with a bunch of crazy chicken-related artwork and subtleties that make you giggle (like the t-shirt our waiter had on that said “You can lick our chicken, but you can’t beat our eggs”… classic). The place was packed, and yet we were able to squeeze in a table for 9 within a half hour so I felt like they did a great job accommodating everyone, not to mention how friendly the staff was. This all seemed like a dream come true, and the only way to know for sure was to get these wings to my face as fast as possible.

The wings here come either breaded or naked, and though I am more of a naked guy (insert joke here), I wanted to experience all that The Chegg had to offer, so I grabbed 6 of both and ordered a variety of sauces. With a smorgasbord of choices ranging from Teriyaki to a Cajun blend, I stuck to the Buffalo roots and ordered them both with their Original Hot. On the side I asked for Killer Beesting (which was supposed to be very hot with a drop of honey), Zapper (which is hotter than that), and finally the Ludicrous (which is the hottest sauce they have). Being that breakfast is also such a big part of this place, so much so that it is served all day, I couldn’t resist throwing some bacon into the mix because, c’mon….. wings dude!!! AND bacon man!!! There are no words 🙂

Both orders of wings came out, and I have to tell you that they were not as jumbo as the menu implied. Actually, the average sized wings, when breaded, LOOKED jumbo when in fact it was a clever optical illusion sent to trick the brain to think they are grandiose. Well played Chegg, well played. These wings tend to fall in the same category as Buffalo Wild Wings, whereas the chicken itself is nothing special at all, but the sauces are offered in such a wide variety that the crowd comes running. Right off the bat you can tell that they spend some time making sure their sauces are original and packed with flavor. Not only that, but the Original Hot that I ordered started the meal off with a nice kick of heat but after tasting the Killer Beesting , I began to think that I should’ve ordered that from the get-go. This sauce had a nice sweetness from the honey, but then finished up with a creeping heat that made me glad to try it. The Zapper was next in line, and even though it is supposed to be hotter than the beesting, it fell a little short in the spiciness department, and was, in my opinon, too vinegary and a waste of time. So, I jumped back to the Beesting and finished off all of the wings but one. This one I left specifically for one reason, and one reason alone. Ah yes, it was time to sample what The Chegg brags about the most: The hottest Hot sauce that they carry… the one, the only, Ludicrous. I cracked open the Ludicrous (keeping it away from the kids, as my server instructed) and poured it all over the last morsel of meat on my plate. Hell, if you’re going to do something, do it right… right?! I take a big bite and wait…. While waiting, I start to think that this wasn’t so bad and that maybe I’ll even go in for another bite. But then……….

HOLY CRAP, the heat hit me like a ton of bricks and no celery or french fries (or soda) could have saved me from this torment that I’ve bestowed upon myself. I’ve tried a ton of hot sauces in my day and nothing made me tear as much as this sauce. And when I mean tear, I don’t mean watery eyes, I mean flowing water running down my face. My family was in shock, and needless to say the cameras came out. I now understand why this is such a well known challenge and why they make you sign a waiver claiming that you’re an idiot for trying this competition… because you are.

When you put all the craziness aside and actually get down to brass tacks, the wings themselves were nothing that special. In fact, I could think of at least five other places that I would have rather been eating wings at right at that moment. But I, like many others, got wrapped up in all the hype and thought that I might get more from this famous eatery. This is not your normal wing joint, and they are not your normal wings due to the delightful array of sauces they have to offer, so for that they earn some points. But they need to work on bringing their chicken to a whole new level. I mean it is a big part of their name, and if they put as much time into that aspect as they do their sauces, then they would kick some major booty. For now though, their uniqueness lies with their Ludicrous Challenge. So, if you are a complete moron or “that guy” that has to prove to his girl or buddies that he is super uber tough, stop in and give it a whirl. But for me, I just wish to thank The Chicken or the Egg for the opportunity to have wings and bacon simultaneously… oh and the tears.

The Chicken or the Egg
207 North Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008
(609) 492-3695

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