Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Buttermilk Fried Chicken on a Waffle at Bel 50
Here's the deal with Bel 50: all the sandwiches come on waffles instead of bread. Sure, it's a gimmick, but it's also one that is so appealing (fresh waffles) and so simple (folded in half) it's astonishing no one has capitalized on this before now in Chicago. Each creation starts with a light and crispy waffle fresh off the press. It's then bent to a 90 degree angle and topped with a number of surprisingly good looking options. For my first go round, I had try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($7.95), because I already knew the flavors of the two worked so well together.
Instead of pouring on a bucket of maple syrup, this sandwich is accentuated with a honey-mustard glaze and an apple slaw (the latter helps cut through the grease). Still, the sandwich is mostly about the interaction of the crunchy fried chicken and the crisp waffle. I didn't care for the panko crust, even though the chicken was moist and well seasoned. But there's no fault with the waffle. Just know that your enjoyment is almost entirely dependent on how long it takes you to finish. Basically, it's a race against time. The waffle may arrive crispy, but the toppings begin to turn it to mush within minutes.