Cafe Society

How did chicken and waffles land on mainstream breakfast menus?

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. See also: - - Second Home Kitchen and Bar: Best Chicken and Waffles 2012 - Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two brings low-country cuisine to the Mile High City - Slide show: A closer look at Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two

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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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz