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.