It has been a while since we’ve ranted!
As a chicken & waffle enthusiast, I am appalled. No, I’m actually pissed off. Most restaurants are flat out messing it up. Maybe saying “messing it up” is wrong, what lots of places are really doing is f*cking it up.
What makes me mad is all the cute stuff. Chicken & waffles is supposed to be just that; chicken & waffles. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a Connecticut restaurant and the chicken is good, so is the waffle, but they serve a straightforward dish like this with greens or a veggie medley. Seriously, stop. We eat chicken & waffles because we honestly don’t give a crap about health, otherwise we wouldn’t order it! The only acceptable vegetable that should accompany chicken & waffles is macaroni & cheese or more chicken or more waffle.
|Blu Parrot (closed) was close. Veggies and half a waffle…That sucks.|
|My “WTF, why?” moment was when I tried the collards at Mama’s Boy.|
There have been good variations of my favorite fat boy dish in CT though. Before Blu Parrot in Westport (Saugatuck) closed they had a good thing going; crispy, thick coated, golden brown chicken but their errors…Tiny pieces of waffle and veggies = FAIL.
Mama’s Boy in SoNo is another goodie. They use Cornish game hen with a nice crust that’s not too greasy. It’s definitely a flavorful bird but they lack in the “amount of waffle” department and lose points for spicy collard greens.
What I’m trying to get at here is this…Please, for the love of god, give us some damn waffle, stop being cutesy, or as DMX would say, “STOP BEING GREEDY.”
The REAL deal chicken & waffles presentation should follow the suit of a Roscoe’s; a full waffle, and a good amount of chicken or options that include more chicken. A true gangsta knows how to really go about eating chicken & waffles; you debone the chicken, put it in the waffle (make a taco even), pour the syrup on it, and destroy it using your mouth.
One of the best examples I can give you in this area that served the dish with multiple pieces of chicken and a full waffle (Belgian style) is the now closed Jeff’s Cuisine in Norwalk where the dish was a special from time to time. Also deserving a tiny shout-out is Bar Qin Stamford for their bite sized version called Hot Honey Chicken & Waffles that is the perfect mouthful of spicy and sweet.
|Buttermilk Channel’s inventive/cute take is damn good but still not what I’m looking for.|
Not to be forgotten is Buttermilk Channel a Brooklyn restaurant that you can even find at Smorgasburg. Their chicken cannot be rivaled my many, they get extra points for providing pickles for a contrasting taste, and I like the creativity of the cheddar waffle. I just wish there was MORE WAFFLE to be had!
|Under that chicken is a full waffle! Yeah, buddy.|
|Why am I happy? Cuz I can do this. Chicken & waffle open-faced sandwich!|
The best East Coast version for the guys and me was at Keven Parker Soul Food at Philadelphia’s famed Reading Terminal Market. We caught a whiff walking by and saw the sign advertising fried saltiness and sweet goodness when we all kind of did that pawing thing as if to say, “Dude. We have to eat here.” This O.G. version was three pieces of greasy, crispy, well-seasoned fried chicken, a full homemade waffle (it’s under the chicken in the pic), a side of mac & cheese, and a buttered roll. What Keven Parker does right is eliminate the frills and serves up this dish in its simplicity.
The only way I can really sum this up…
Restaurants, just chill. You don’t have to try to be smarter or more creative than the next guy. Chicken & waffles should be simple! Just give us a few pieces of chicken, a full waffle and some maple syrup because not a lot of you are serving it that way. A buttered waffle and fried chicken on a plate may not earn you presentation points, but it’ll be better than that cute shit your competitors are putting out.