I’ve been converted. Had a revelation, a come to Jesus moment. No, I’m not talking about God (we’re already tight), I’m referring to the Chicken & Waffle at 24 Diner. I generally don’t get excited when I see it on a menu. When a dish is so simplistic that it only features two main components, they both better be damn good or it’s going to fall flat. Invariably one of the two lets me down. Either the chicken is dry or the waffle soggy, or something to that effect. And while I love maple syrup, it’s never enough to bring it all together for me. That is until now. Here’s how my recent visit to 24 Diner went.
Nick our server, a big burly guy with a beard, attends to our table. “Is it your first time here?” he asks.
“Yes, it is” I reply. “Do you have any recommendations?”
“The chicken and waffle is our most popular item.” I automatically roll my eyes and consider that asking his opinion might have been a bad idea (see my rant above).
I’m honest and express my doubt. “I’ve never really been a big fan.”
“No, it’s really good. The waffle is made from a yeast batter that almost tastes like it’s made with beer. I like to douse it all with syrup and Chalula hot sauce. It’s got this spicy, salty, sweet thing going on” Nick exclaims.
I’m intrigued. I love the combination of salty, spicy and sweet. I’ve created recipes around this flavor profile like my egg sandwich and my own Asian interpretation of chicken and waffles. I decide to go for it and signal for Nick to place the order.
While waiting, Nick drops off a bottle of syrup. It’s been warmed. A nice touch!
The chicken & waffle arrives. The plate of food is huge, bigger than my head, literally. I take Nick’s advice and liberally douse the plate with warm syrup and hot sauce. I take my first bite and take a minute to ponder the sweet, spicy and salty flavors I’m enjoying. The chicken is good, the waffle amazing. This may be one of the best waffles I’ve ever had. It’s dense but not overly heavy and the flavor is more complex then the standard Belgian waffle. It’s more reminiscent of a Leige waffle, a denser, sweeter version from Western Belgium. The waffle is “yeasty” as Nick described which pairs well with the maples syrup. The chicken is a solid version of boneless fried chicken with the hint of a spice I couldn’t quite decipher. I selected white meat, but 24 Diner also offers boneless dark meat if you prefer.
Overall, a great dish that will have me back for more (I’m still full from the massive portion). 24 Diner also offers a half-portion for those with less ravenous appetites. If you’re out late partying and have the munchies at 2 am, 24 Diner is open all night and breakfast is always on the menu.