How did chicken and waffles land on mainstream breakfast menus?
Euclid Hall's chicken and waffles, with crispy chicken mousseline and confit "nuggets."
Why does pork go so well with breakfast, and poultry not so much? Turkey bacon aside (and in my book, it should be way aside), the only poultry you're likely to find at breakfast is in chicken and waffles.
Long associated with the South, this dish actually traces its roots not to jazz-era Harlem, as is often thought, but to the 1700s, when German settlers (aka the Pennsylvania Dutch) brought it to infant America.
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What puzzles soul-food scholar Adrian Miller is how the dish, "which nested so long in African-American culture, went back into the American mainstream," he says.
Regardless of how it got here, chicken and waffles seems around to stay -- though not necessarily in its traditional form, with bone-in fried chicken, a soft waffle, and plenty of maple syrup and hot sauce on the side. This combination of savory and sweet provides chefs with "the perfect playground to blur culinary lines, blend flavors and contrast textures," Miller notes.
And play they do. Euclid Hall crafts an upscale rendition, with chicken mousseline, confit nuggets, black pepper béchamel and maple gastrique. Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two, which I review this week, opts for a homier feel, piling shredded, maple-whiskey-soaked chicken atop a soft waffle.
What restaurant do you think serves the town's best chicken and waffles? Post your suggestions in the comments section below.
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