The chicken tenders plate with potato salad and fries.

The chicken tenders plate with potato salad and fries.

I never could understand what the Nashville hot chicken craze was all about. Gus’ in Nashville has always been the version everyone has aspired to — spicy, but not overly so and oh so tender and delicious.

Nowadays, however, everyone is trying to provide the spiciest chicken around, with less regard for flavor. Cayenne, the primary ingredient in the breading for this style chicken, is quite fiery, so much so, that if you order anything hotter than medium, your taste buds are likely to spontaneously combust, resulting in an inability to actually taste the chicken itself.

No, thanks, I’ll settle for fried chicken to which I can add my own degree of heat.

So this brings us to Byrd’s Hot Chicken in Redlands. There are really only three items on the menu: the sandwich, the chicken tenders platter and the Byrd Bomb (chopped tenders with cheese). Also, there is an assortment of kid’s meals.

The heat levels include no spice, mild spice, medium, hot, and for the customers whose palate is coated with flame retardant, supahot. Each item comes with a small container of cayenne cream sauce with a touch of vinegar.

Before we launch into the flavor profiles, mayo-based Cole slaw is available on the sandwich along with mayo-based potato salad and spicy french fries, but on the tenders plate you get potato salad and fries, and you can’t substitute Cole slaw for either one!

You also get a slice of Texas toast on the plate, which wouldn’t surprise me if it was made with potato flour. But here’s the real rub. The mayo based potato salad is served in the styrofoam container right next to the hot (temperature wise) french fries. If you’re getting a to go order and have more than a 10- to 15-mile drive home, that potato salad will be at room temperature or higher when you arrive, which could present a health risk.

The same is true of the sandwich which has a skimpy amount of Cole slaw sitting right on top of the hot (temperature) chicken tenders. The same risk is present. Be sure to ask for the potato salad or Cole slaw to be put in a separate container and a separate bag from the hot food for take out. It’s not a problem if you eat on premises.

On to the flavors. We ordered the mild version for our chicken, but the heat continued to build after the first bite. The chicken itself, was delicious. The breading was crunchy and the tenders were moist and succulent. The Q24 dipping sauce (in case you need more heat) is composed of mayo and cayenne pepper with a hint of vinegar in the finish.

You get two large tenders on the tenders plate. One large tender is used for the sandwich (the ends stick out on both sides of the roll). It’s best to fold the chicken tender in half, or cut it in half, before biting into the sandwich.

David Cohen is the former co-host of the PBS show “Table for Two.”