Love Me Tender

Whether you call ‘em tenders, fingers or strips, kids are always on the hunt for tasty, breaded, deep-fried chicken. We asked a few 7-year-olds to weigh in on tenders from three local eateries.

Wild & Free 

4550 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks

Valley newcomer Wild & Free offers free range, organic chicken and farm-to-table side dishes in a casual environment. Our culinary crew concurred: their chicken tender reigns supreme.

M: It tastes pretty good. I like the regular chicken flavor. I would give it a 10 with ketchup.

B: It has what I like … a crunch with good flavor and soft chicken. I could eat two of these.

J: Nice even brown coloring. A little too much chicken for me. I like more fried breading, but the flavor is really good.

Score: 8.6

Fat Sal’s

16901 Ventura Boulevard, Encino

Fat Sal’s in Encino celebrates diner-food decadence with a modern twist. Their version uses a generous amount of chicken, making it the plumpest of the pack.

M: It looks like a big chicken nugget. I like it with their barbecue sauce because it’s sweet and tangy.

B: Yummy flavor and good seasoning. I don’t like to dip my tenders into anything, and this one definitely doesn’t need a sauce.

J: The chicken is really moist, and this one is more meaty. It tastes even better when I dip it in the ranch dressing.

Score: 8

Jerry’s Deli

12655 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City

This Studio City institution has been serving locals since the 70s. Their take on the tender features lots of fried breading goodness with minimal meat.

M: This one is so-so. It’s better with ketchup.

B: Very crusty, and it doesn’t look like it has much chicken. Tastes really salty and not much meat.

J: A lot of crunchiness, and that’s what I like most. Tastes really good.

Score: 6.5

Panel: Jordan Baruh, Benjamin Lieberman, Madison Novack
Our judges are decked out courtesy of Grey and Ray—a new kids’ clothing line created by two local moms.