[Photograph: Anna Deem]

I may never get to afford to dine at Alinea, but I can now say that I know what $24 fried chicken and waffles tastes like. Yes, that's right, at chef Art Smith's Table Fifty-Two in the Gold Coast, the fried chicken and waffles brunch specialty is a whopping $24. Of course, the real question is whether the dish is worth its Gold Coast price tag.

Fortunately, the answer was a resounding yes. I had naturally assumed due to Table Fifty-Two being a high-end restaurant that Smith's fried chicken and waffles would be a fancier, more refined take on the southern standard. Thankfully, that was not the case, as Smith's version instead highlights his masterful grasp of classic Southern cuisine.

Two thick and crispy waffles are the base for two of the biggest pieces of fried chicken I have ever encountered. Although the chicken was a tad saltier than I would have preferred, the sweetness from the Burton Farm maple syrup was able to cut most of the salty flavor, leaving me to enjoy every bite of the sweet and savory dish.

Table Fifty-Two

52 W Elm St, Chicago, IL 60610 (map)


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