Deep Fried Chicago: Fried Chicken & Waffle at Longman & Eagle


[Photograph: Joe Roy]

Everyone around here has been doing their part to shine the spotlight on breakfast this March. And like I said a few weeks ago, the fried perspective is largely limited to doughnuts. But there is another breakfast dish straight from the deep fryer worth writing up: chicken & waffles. I have to confess that I've never ordered the duo before; file it alongside grits and fried green tomatoes as Southern comfort foods for which I have little personal connection. With little in the way of preexisting expectations or standards (for once), choosing a documentable version felt a little like throwing a dart. So I proceeded with as much foresight as I knew how: by surrendering myself completely into Longman & Eagle's very knowing hands.

The Fried Chicken & Waffle ($12.00) is plated simply, which means no one component can be relied upon to carry it. Here, everything works in tandem to create a sweet and salty balance that never becomes weighted down by its own richness. The hulking Slagel Family Farms leg and thigh have chicken flavor to spare and a porous batter that resists shattering underfork. Said batter soaks syrup like a sponge, while the waffle base remains stalwartly crisp throughout the meal. And while you may be tempted to ignore the simple hash of sweet potato and pork belly, the sweet and salty brunoise is a micro-representation of everything great about this dish.

Personal connection to chicken & waffles: achieved. Finding a suitable follow up to the version at Longman & Eagle: I'll have to get back to you on that.

Longman & Eagle

2657 N Kedzie Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (map)