Forget Popeye's and KFC, I'm going to Harlem for fried chicken from now on!
We ventured uptown for some authentic soul food and I had been looking forward for a long time to try chicken and waffles ever since my pseudo-heroine, Liz Lemon, broke bread with Tracy Jordan over the dish on 30 Rock. Alex had been to Sylvia's before and insisted it was an institution that we must visit, famous for Southern dishes. The farthest south I'd been was to Tennessee and the only thing I ate there was a dinner at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede (I know, I am ashamed of myself)...so I definitely wanted to eat at Sylvia's.
|Waffles and Chicken!|
We got off the train at 125th Street on a freeeeeezing day. So obviously I wanted to treat myself to something deep fried and covered in syrup and butter. We were seated in a dining room that resembled a cute, cozy mom & pop/bed & breakfast: pale green walls with white trim and simple wooden furniture. I was starving and super excited already!
Alex ordered the chicken liver lunch special with candied yams and collard greens, and I ordered the fried chicken on a waffle (you can also get it on a hotcake...but who ever heard of chicken and hotcakes?). To start, we had some warm cornbread with butter. I've never been a big fan of cornbread, but theirs was tasty and the browned edges were interestingly crunchy.
Finally, our food came and I proverbially wiped the drool from the corner of my mouth. Two enormous puffy golden brown waffles were stacked right next to a hefty piece of fried chicken leg/thigh. A funny container of butter sat atop the whole thing. Alex's dish of chicken livers and onions was not so pretty, but after tasting each part, I went from formerly disliking liver to actually enjoying it! I found chicken livers to be grainy and odd tasting, but Sylvia did something right. The candied yams were also delicious: not too sweet, but still yammy-tasting. I realized that my family really misses out by not doing candied yams on Thanksgiving like other people.... I also had a bite of the collard greens, and it reminded me of a random vegetable dish that I eat at home sometimes. Do people in the south and people from China eat the same veggies?
|That's someone drooling...|
My chicken...mmm. First of all, I excused myself from any new year's resolutions just for that piece of fried chicken. It wasn't super greasy, but it definitely didn't look healthy either. The skin was sinfully crunchy and salty. The meat underneath was juicy and hot. I tried pairing the chicken with alternating dips of syrup and hot sauce. Just when I thought people couldn't get more creative than chicken and waffles, they give me a container of pancake syrup to go with the chicken. And, it was delicious! It wasn't extremely sweet, but provided that sweet-savory combination that hits the right spot. The waffles were also really good, but I'll admit right away that I'm not a big waffle or pancake person. The exterior was crisp and the inside was pretty fluffy. I had most of the waffles with some syrup and butter, but ended up not finishing. Still, at the end of my meal, I was licking the fried chicken grease off my fingers delightedly.
328 Malcolm X Boulevard