Everybody likes chicken and waffles. How could you not? This dish is having a moment, with good reason. The perfect combination of savory and sweet means you don't have to choose one over the other. In the past couple of years, we've seen this duo pop up in brunches all over town and even claim its proper place on several menus. The soul food staple has origins in Harlem circa 1938, when Wells Supper Club gave gospel singers and jazz performers who'd missed out on dinner but didn't quite want breakfast the best of both worlds.
Two regulars at Wells -- Herb Hudson and Gladys Knight -- couldn't get enough, so they decided to open institutions dedicated to the fried bird and square piece of dough. If you've been to L.A or Atlanta, you know that ordering chicken and waffles is a religious affair. At Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood, the name says it all. On the East Coast, Gladys and Ron's Chicken and Waffles boasts a line out the door every day beginning at 9 a.m.
Miami isn't so far behind. Lines out the door at a few places can be attributed to chicken and waffles. What follows are the top ten places where sweet meets savory.
10. Josh's Deli
Everything you thought you knew about chicken and waffles gets tried and tested at Josh's charming delicatessen. He doesn't always serve the chicken salad and waffles, but when he does, make sure to be there. Picture this: Josh's chicken salad balled up and fried into a type of croqueta -- one giant croqueta. And Josh makes it by rendering foie gras before tossing in the rest of the mix-ins to his chicken salad. As if that's not enough, there's the syrup, which is like a jalapeño jelly. Believe it.
Why yes, that is a honeycomb with a colossal dollop of ricotta atop fried chicken. The Mondrian's brunch is dubbed "Dig In" for a reason -- because that's exactly what you'll want to do with the chicken and waffles. This dish is almost too pretty to eat (almost). The chicken is fried in harissa buttermilk so it's extra-buttery and juicy. If bears ate brunch, this would be their go-to. And the best thing is brunch comes a day early, on Saturday (no Sunday brunch here). That just means you can have 'em here Saturday and elsewhere Sunday. Boom.
Morgan's recently began serving brunch seven days a week, which means you can have the chicken and waffles every damn day. If you're not a wing kind of person, this is your go-to, because Morgan's fries chicken tenders so you can cut through your waffle and chicken without any interruption. Powdered sugar tops the whole thing.
Jamie DeRosa's chicken and waffles have so many ingredients they'll make your head spin -- in a good way. First, there's the waffle, which is savory. DeRosa bakes the cheddar-green-onion sidekick to order. That's a cheddar-green-onion waffle. Got it? Good, let's move along. If you're wondering how DeRosa gets his chicken so juicy, it's because he cooks it sous vides first. Then he coats it with cornflakes before frying it, so that's where that cereal taste comes from. The whole thing is topped off with local honey and powdered sugar and then served with your very own mini bottle of Tabasco. Heat accordingly.
People line up at Yardbird as early as 9:30 a.m. Sundays for chicken and waffles. Actually, walk into this Southern joint any day of the week, lunch or dinner, and you'll see the signature and most popular dish multiply before your eyes. These baked-to-order wonders have chow chow (a type of green tomato that's been chopped up) and cheddar blended into the batter and are served with old-school fried chicken and spiced chilled watermelon. Thank Yardbird for showing us the miraculous combination that is fried chicken, waffles, and watermelon. Drizzle them with both the honey hot sauce and the bourbon maple syrup.
There's nothing not to love about Richard Hales'
chicken duck and waffles. It's a suitable substitute for a Chinese restaurant, especially when it pays homage to one of China's most popular and oldest dishes, Peking shaoyazi duck. And even more so when that duck is served with an ultra-crisp exterior and tender, juicy interior. Hales hits the trifecta by pairing it with cinnamon bun waffles and bourbon syrup. No, you're not dreaming.
OTC had bomb chicken and waffles when it began serving brunch two years ago. But ever since chef Jacob Anaya stepped in and revamped the menu, it's only gotten better. The chicken is worldly, as in marinated in Korean red miso and kimchee paste before being cooked sous vide and then fried. To counter the kick, there's a pickled carrot slaw, miso aioli, and maple syrup. We suggest mixing everything together.
3. The Federal
If you've ever thought chicken and waffles would be great with hog instead, you're in luck. Pigs fly at the Federal Food & Drink Provisions, from the kitchen onto your table and atop the fluffiest cornmeal waffle your mouth has ever encountered. The pig wing is coated in just the right amount of Buffalo sauce to get your tongue dancing. Once it meets the maple syrup, the two get down.
2. Eating House
Giorgio Rapicavoli redefined wake-and-bake with his Wakin-n-Bacon brunch at Eating House, where bacon rules. Especially in the chicken foie-ffles, where Rapicavoli forgoes butter in the waffle batter and instead uses foie. Imagine all the things you'd want when you have the munchies -- perfectly cooked chicken thighs, candied bacon, smoked maple syrup, Tabasco, and ranch -- together in one dish. That's exactly what's going on here, and it's also on the dinner menu. You know, in case the munchies are an everyday occurrence.
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Kush and Lokal's chicken and waffles have gotten praise from the king himself, LeBron James. OK, so maybe you've ruled him out, but don't rule out mama bear's chicken and waffles. The chicken is free-range and fried in homemade wet batter to a perfect golden crisp. The waffle is Belgian and everything you'd ever want from a waffle.The bacon is nitrite-free. And the homemade maple syrup has just the right amount of spice. Winner, winner, chicken (and waffles) dinner.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha