Check out these deep-fried, syrup-soaked treats, from Southern classics to global riffs.
Think all chicken and waffle plates are created equal? Think again. Classic comfort food comes in many forms in Boston, from traditional Southern dishes to those influenced by Chinese, Mexican and more. We’ve picked out some of our favorite tantalizing variations, so go ahead and check out your new favorite version of this dynamic duo.
Brassica Kitchen + Coffee
Brassica may be on our list of Boston’s best restaurants, but the chicken and waffle plate on its brunch menu, based on a recipe from a former cook’s grandmother, is fashioned Georgian style: the waffle batter is made with creme fraiche and cultured cream, so it melts in your mouth at the first bite. Boneless chicken thighs, meanwhile, are marinated in buttermilk and a brine of fermented peppers and pickles, then coated in flour. Brassica is a place notorious for playing with fermented ingredients, in fact, he even tops the plate with some maple umeboshi, plums aged in salt then poached in syrup, and a homemade hot sauce. . mashed fermented peppers with maple syrup.
3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-4519, brassicakitchen.com.
Citrus & Salt
At his Mexican-inspired coastal restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay, Hell’s Kitchen Star chef Jason Santos cooks up – what else? – chicken and waffle tacos. Blue corn flour is topped with a lightly sweet and salty trace of Tequila Monte for the waffle shells, which are filled with Santos’ famous fried chicken recipe: meat dipped in buttermilk and tossed with spices such as as garlic, lemon pepper and cayenne pepper. If you want to turn up the heat even more, drizzle with jalapeño barbecue syrup; the avocado butter that accompanies it, on the other hand, has a cooling effect, as does the refreshing side of the watermelon and citrus salad.
142 Berkeley St., Boston, 617-424-6711, citrusandsaltboston.com.
The Coffee of the Coast
When you’re craving a classic take on chicken and waffles, step into this family-friendly neighborhood joint just outside Central Square, which has been a soul food staple for 18 years. Owner Tony Brooks looks to his Mississippi-raised mother’s recipes for much of the menu, so it’s no surprise the perfectly seasoned chicken and its wonderfully browned, crackling skin seem so faithful to a traditional Southern take. . Again, the same could be said of the smoked BBQ pork ribs, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie and other hearty hearty dishes available.
233 River St., Cambridge, 617-354-7644, coastsoulcafe.com.
The friendly toast
New England’s most deliciously retro group of restaurants always put their own unique spin on breakfast favorites, and Chicken and Waffles are no exception. In this case, the singular spin involves fried chicken batter made with Rice Krispies, giving the meat a distinct texture and a super satisfying crunch. (While light and fluffy on the inside, the well-structured waffles also have a nice crispy exterior.) What really takes things to the next level, though, are the toppings (bacon!) and creative toppings: corn fire-roasted poblano, peppery sour cream made with chipotle and Vermont maple syrup, and warm honey, all served in a playful diner-style setting.
35 Stanhope St., Boston, 617-456-7849 (and additional locations), thefriendlytoast.com.
Maxine is on Saint James
Owner Darrow Patton primarily prepares Louisiana-style cuisine at this Roxbury restaurant. Don’t miss: the chicken and waffle po’boy, his take on the signature New Orleans sandwich. Patton puts juicy, lightly breaded fried chicken between Belgian waffles that are topped with cornmeal for texture and designed to be dipped in butter and syrup. A standard plate of chicken and waffles is also available, of course, but this po’boy swap is clearly made with the kind of love and passion that powers all of Maxine’s soul food, from jambalaya to smothered, through catfish and oatmeal. .
304 Dudley St., Boston, 617-427-0927, maxinesonsaintjames.com.
At her spirited global street food restaurant in South Boston, chef Asia Mei draws inspiration from Asian and South American cuisines, to name a few. A thick Belgian waffle smothered in rustic, homemade cinnamon honey butter sets the stage for a craving-worthy meal; kicker is crispy-coated fried chicken with tender, boneless meat to be basted in an “awesome sauce” rich in umami and sriracha-bourbon (which tastes as, well, awesome as it sounds) .
152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-752-4191, moonshine152.com.
Variety (and maybe a little lemony pepper) is the spice of life at this Medford bistro, which offers a wide selection of waffle flavors: there’s the red velvet waffle, for example, with hints of chocolate and a welcome bit of lamb’s lettuce, as well as the Asian waffle with sesame and green onions, co-owner Joy Phoubaykham offers a crepe with green onions. Once you’ve made your selection, choose whether you’d like chicken wings or tenders to go with it, then choose between styles like Buffalo, Korean, Sweet BBQ, Lime Chili, and more. Finally, everything can be drizzled with a maple cream cheese syrup and (if you like) macerated fruits and whipped cream. The only decision left to make is when to go.
84 Spring St., Medford, 781-391-9000, nkboston.com.
Between graffiti-splattered walls, upbeat music and inventive Asian gastropub fare, Chinatown’s Shojo serves up fusion cuisine in style. Take the chicken and waffle dish, which is divided into bite-size pieces of juicy, thinly breaded thighs and sweet Hong Kong egg puff-style waffles, which are traditionally served as a dessert topped with ice cream. Here, instead, they are covered with a Chinese five-spice butter and an aromatic syrup with hints of orange and juniper berries. Great style, indeed.
9 Tyler St., Boston, 617-482-8887, shojoboston.com.
Trina’s Starlite Lounge
Comfort food is this Somerville stalwart’s specialty, and chicken and waffles are a particular crowd pleaser. The waffle is flavorful, infused with marjoram, tarragon and thyme; the same flour mixture is then used to dredge the buttermilk-soaked chicken, which is low-fried and finished in the oven. The result? A crispy meat on the outside and tender on the inside, perfectly complemented by a syrup with hits of vinegar and Fresno, jalepeño and red peppers.
3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0006, trinastarlitelounge.com.