Fried Chicken And Waffles, At Last.
Friday, February 7, 2013.

From the first time I heard about it, I have not been able to get my head around the idea of fried chicken and waffles. That food phenomenon went viral across America about twenty years ago, although articles written about it usually point to the 1930s and 1940s as the beginning of its popularity. Baltimore and Harlem are the most likely roots, growing in the fertile tradition of soul food. Of course, both waffles and fried chicken have been around a long time, and it’s almost a certainty that somebody put them together at some point even in colonial times.

None of that makes it any more interesting to my palate. When I learned that the dish is usually served with syrup on both the chicken and the waffles, my curiosity waned further.

But sooner or later I had to try the dish, to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Today was the day, as I made my fourth stop at the Legacy Grill in Metairie, gathering material for a review I will write next week.

Chicken and wffles at Legacy Kitchen.

Chicken and wffles at Legacy Kitchen.

Somehow I had it in my mind that the chicken half of this would be a half chicken, bones and all. Not so. Legacy’s version is more along the lines of chicken fingers. Which, I later learned, is the more common way of serving chicken and waffles in most establishments. But they do serve at least two different versions of a bone-in chicken, and I almost ditched and went for the roasted version.

And now, I wish I had. The chicken was dry, the waffles mediocre, and the syrup a bad idea, tradition or no.

I started thinking about how such a dish could have become popular, even given the wide range of tastes we humans rightfully have. Here’s my theory. Americans like to eat both fried chicken and waffles individually. But we don’t like either one of them enough for waffles or fried chicken to reach the level of hamburgers, steak, pizza, or even spaghetti with red sauce. But if you have both fried chicken and waffles on one plate, it reaches critical mass, and people get excited.

Well, some people do. Not me. I like both dishes enough to go to the substantial trouble of making them at home. But you’ll never see them on the same table at the same time in my house.

I hope a lot of people use the comment feature of our website to give me more perspectives on this.

Legacy Grill.

Legacy Grill.

This was the least interesting meal I’ve had at Legacy. It began with an order of chips and queso dip, neither part of which showed any distinction. I followed that with corn and crab bisque, which was pretty good.

I asked for a side order of kettle chips with the chicken. (And waffles.) Are they fresh-cut and fried in house? I asked. The server affirmed that they were. How long since the chips were fried? (It was late afternoon, a slow time for this or any restaurant.) She said that the current batch had been fried about an hour ago. When would the next batch come out? No time soon, the kitchen said. I got them anyway. Nothing much there. Why would a restaurant fry its own chips if it doesn’t do so to order?

I have been pulling for Legacy Kitchen to be good. The place is comfortable, the service friendly, and the location handy. Some of the food has been better than I expected–the turtle soup and the duck chili, most notably. But not enough of it.

And the music is still way too loud. But if you like it, you can get a playlist of the music playing at Legacy Kitchen on your own computer, at this web page. That’s a first, as far as I know.

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Legacy Kitchen. Metairie: 759 Veterans Memorial Blvd. 504-309-5231.

17 Readers Commented

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  1. Chad Parker on February 18, 2014

    Like the place. Agree on the volume. The crawfish dressing you did not care for I enjoyed. How old is Legacy, maybe 7 months? Still getting their feet wet. I would not think to order the chicken and waffles. Too much of a novelty.

  2. john on February 18, 2014

    The picture makes the chicken and waffles look really good, but this dish sounds like a must to avoid. I have Legacy on my list of places to go. If I go, what’s an entrĂ©e worth getting?

  3. Kristi on February 18, 2014

    I love chicken and waffles. It is a sweet savory thing for me. I also like strawberry jelly on a sausage and biscuit, which my husband thinks is weird. I will say that the waffle above is too thick. The waffle cannot be of the belgin variety, but should be thin and crisp (think waffle house) and shouldn’t be served with butter. One of my all time favorites was a savory waffle with rosemary in the batter and a burbon syrup. Salty, herbacious, sweet – mmm makes my mouth water.
    We are going to NYC in June and have reservations at Sylvia’s soul food restaurant in Harlem. I plan to order the chicken and waffles!

  4. Laurie on February 18, 2014

    I would definitely have to respectfully disagree with your review of the chicken and waffles at Legacy…almost to the point I am wondering if we both tried the same dish. My husband and I go to Legacy at least once a week and most of the time he gets the chicken and waffles. We have even introduced this dish and the restaurant to several of our friends and they love it! I would recommend to the readers to give it a try and judge for yourselves. I also love the Tuna Tango Salad and Veggie burger for a less caloric option to the chicken and waffles …very tasty!

    • Tom Fitzmorris Author on February 18, 2014

      Better you than me!

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

      • J. Mowinski on February 18, 2014

        Have to agree w. you Tom. Had it in Pasadena CA & thought it was over rated–nothing special & wouldn’t try it again anywhere. Waffle was like a frozen waffle & the chicken totally dried out.

  5. AndrewMorgan on February 18, 2014

    I agree with Kristi – the quality of the waffles to provide contrast is crucial. Ste. Marie used to have a version involving beautiful crispy waffles, fried bone-in chicken, and a savory pecan and bourbon butter. Beautiful, especially for a guy’s night meal when avoiding the judging eyes of dieting spouses.

    • Kristi on February 19, 2014

      Pecan burbon butter – sounds absolutely perfect for chicken & waffles!!!

  6. Suzi on February 18, 2014

    At home in Southern California, we LOVE chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s (several locations in the L.A. area). Roscoe’s version is one of those dishes you dream about! Roscoe’s uses HUGE super-moist pieces of bone-in chicken (your choice of chicken parts) and you cover the whole thing with warm syrup with a hint of cinnamon…OMG!

  7. Gretchen on February 18, 2014

    I will have to agree with you Tom. The idea of chicken and waffles was a very strange combination let alone with syrup. However, I was convinced years ago by coworkers to try it at Cobalt on St. Charles. It was the Thursday special. I will say to my surprise, it was fabulous!! The chicken was fried in a light batter and the syrup was thin and not too sweet. I was shocked that I liked it. Cobalt was fabulous and I don’t know if I would enjoy it somewhere else.

  8. roy on February 18, 2014

    i had chicken and waffles today for the second time at Le Creole’ across from Ruffino’s in Baton Rouge. Absolutely delicious. The first time there the server explained that the chicken white meat is peeled off of the bone prior to frying. So it’s actually bone in chicken, but boneless. Bone in to me has the best flavor. Best fried chicken i’ve had in new orleans are the following: Mr. Ed’s followed by a close second place at Porter and Lukes and third would be Dooky Chase(not the buffet).

  9. Mike on February 18, 2014

    It don’t impress me much…

  10. John on February 19, 2014

    Now Laurie makes me think I should give the chicken and waffles a try.

  11. DB on February 19, 2014

    I agree with Tom. it’s an odd pairing but to each his own.

  12. Tom on February 19, 2014

    Agree. Love waffles. Love fried chicken. Tried them together in Seattle and decided that once was too many times for that dish.

  13. Adam on February 21, 2014

    Wait, what? I don’t know who told you that chicken fingers and waffles are the more common way to serve chicken and waffles, but that’s certainly not the case in the places that have been doing it for decades. If anything, if you see chicken fingers/strips, that’s a sign they aren’t taking it seriously. As it’s become a more popular dish, tossing some chicken fingers on top of waffles is an easy way to add a buzzy menu item with minimal effort. You should be reviewing chicken fingers about as often as you should be reviewing anything else from a kids menu.

    • Tom Fitzmorris Author on February 21, 2014

      Well, it’s the only time I’ve reviewed chicken fingers in 42 years. Is that too often?

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

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