Columbus restaurants are giving this soul food staple the international treatment.
Chicken and waffles, that savory-meets-sweet delicacy most commonly served as bone-in fried chicken atop wheat-flour waffles with maple syrup, has migrated in recent years from its Southern and East Coast folk origins onto mainstream menus. The dish can now be found on some of the more upscale brunch menus in the city. And within a culinary scene determined to spin novelty from tradition, one increasingly finds restaurants of a more international outlook debuting exotic variants worthy of exploration. Here are three to seek out.
Cosecha Cocina, on Fourth Street in Italian Village, recently launched a much-anticipated, Mexican-inspired brunch service. A highlight of the new menu is a south-of-the-border version of chicken and waffles: the Masa Waffle con Pollo Frito, or cornmeal waffle with fried chicken. The masa waffles amount to a thin, crispy and savory cornbread base that pairs beautifully with the fried chicken thighs, which are tossed in nutty salsa macha. A slightly spicy guajillo pepper-infused syrup rounds out the dish.
Perhaps the most innovative (and colorful) chicken and waffles in town can be found at Bonifacio, a Filipino restaurant at King Avenue and North Star Road where the brunch menu features “purple yam waffles and house-fried chicken with adobo glaze, served with coconut caramel syrup.” Light and yielding, with a cake-like density, the bright purple waffles hold up two nicely fried pieces of well-seasoned dark meat. The coconut syrup complements the ube (purple yam) in the thick waffles and adds a tropical twist. A small cup of gravy is a pleasant addition that pairs well with the chicken.
A Hong Kong Twist
At Downtown’s Tiger + Lily, the novelty of its rendition revolves around the use of trendy Hong Kong-style egg waffles. Looking not unlike a hexagon of bubble wrap rendered in pastry, the conspicuously eggy cake is both the sweetest of the trio as well as the most enjoyable to eat on its own. (It’s easy to see the reason for the trend.) The chicken, either a fairly traditional fried dark meat or a Japanese karaage-style white meat, plays its role faithfully. Maple syrup and a slightly sweet Sriracha-inspired sauce accompany the dish.