Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen

I believe I’ve talked before about a local PBS show, Check Please, Bay Area, where people come in and talk about their favorite restaurants. I’ve seen an episode a few times reviewing a place in Oakland that’s famous for their Chicken and Waffles, Brown Sugar Kitchen. You can watch the review. I’ll wait.

OK, now you’re probably wanting some chicken and waffles too, right?  I’ve been wanting to try the chicken and waffles at Brown Sugar Kitchen since first seeing this episode.  This last Sunday, I got together at BSK with Cherry and our friend, Lei, for brunch.  Yay brunch!  Yay friends!

Brown Sugar Kitchen doesn’t take reservations, so Lei and Cherry got there about 10 minutes before I did, and we relaxed in the bar area with drinks (coffee and milk, it was early) and waited for them to call our names.  There’s a line out in front of the building, of people waiting for tables, so we were happy to have seats.  Once we got our table, we started by sharing Beignets served with BSK seasonal jam, and then three orders of the house special, Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle with brown sugar butter & apple cider syrup. Lei has had their hash before, and says it’s great.  She offered to share a plate of the daily hash special with poached eggs, and a plate of the waffles and chicken.  I’ve never had hash, so I chickened out, and we decided to all get the chicken and waffles.  I’ve never had beignets before, though I swear if I ever make it to New Orleans, of course I’ll have to try them there.  These were delicious, sweet, soft, yummy.  I didn’t want to gross Cherry and Lei out, so I didn’t tell them why I wouldn’t try their homemade strawberry jam.

They serve their jam on the table, with a little spoon, the way so many better restaurants do.  Years ago, Ted and I had breakfast at a wonderful and popular place in San Francisco, Judy’s Cafe.  Judy’s has amazing sourdough French toast, which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood.  I was enjoying my amazing French toast with jam from the jar on the table, when what should I spy at the next table over?  A woman took the little spoon out of the container, spread jam on her toast or whatever, POPPED THE SPOON IN HER MOUTH TO GET THE SWEET GOODNESS OFF, and PUT IT BACK IN THE CONTAINER.  Ugh.  Not the grossest thing ever, but up there enough that I don’t eat the jam when it’s served that way anymore.  Which is a drag, because I’m sure it would have been wonderful.

After the delicious beignets (what’s not to like about fried dough and powdered sugar?), our chicken and waffles arrived.  My first bite of waffle was delicious.  So light, crispy, fluffy, and luscious.  Then I made the mistake of spreading the butter all over the waffles, and then pouring the syrup on top.  The brown sugar butter was just too sweet to me, and I didn’t care for the flavor of the apple cider syrup.  Too rich, too sweet.  Not my cup of tea.  The chicken was almost right…it had a delicious crust, and there was a lovely herb flavor to it.  But it was overdone, and kind of dry.  Not delicious.  Good, but not great.  I really enjoyed my time with Lei and Cherry, and trying a new restaurant.  But the experience was disappointing.  I don’t think I’d go out of my way to go back.  If I do find myself there again, I think I’d try just the waffles, no ultra sweet butter, and spring for the real maple syrup ($2 extra).  I’ll bet that would be an amazing breakfast.  I wish I had tried out the hash with Lei.

Any fans of the chicken and waffle meal out there?  It’s kind of trendy right now, I think.  There are a few places in Oakland to get this soul food meal, and we’re getting a place in my little town soon.  Honestly, I doubt I’ll try it.  Not sure the combo is for me.

5 thoughts on “Brown Sugar Kitchen

  1. I’d like to try waffles and fried chicken together. I see the combo on tv shows, but there are no restaurants that I know of around here who make that particular meal. Yet.

    I cannot imagine how sweet the addition of brown sugar to butter & cider syrup would be. I’m more of a salty person than sweet person, both in food preferences and personality!

    PS “I’ve never had hash” Really?! I don’t much like it, but I ate quite a bit of it as a child. It was a staple around our house.

  2. Ally, I think they might have it at IHOP, so you could try it there. Not sure if it would be GOOD, but you could try it. 😉

    Maybe I’m gonna try to make some hash sometime soonish…or some chicken and waffles, for that matter. Nah.

  3. I’ve heard sung the praises of Chicken and Waffles, but I’ve never had that combo. Still reticent. I did see a recipe for cornbread waffles which sounded REALLY good to me. I may try it this summer.

  4. omg, we were just in oakland last week! we wanted to stop by brown sugar kitchen (recommended by one of my former students) but our schedule didn’t permit it. we ate at merritt bakery & restaurant for chicken and waffles (since we’d already tried roscoe’s version). i’m sure there are other renditions out there in oakland.

    • And? What was your opinion of chicken and waffles? Have you had it before? Did you like it? Did you love it? I think next time I’d go all waffles or all chicken…

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