BBQue's Smoke Shack Reworks Chicken and Waffles - As a Sandwich
"Put the waffles in the toaster," the countergal directed the cook -- who looked to be about 16 years old -- over her shoulder. "How many?" he queried. "Two," she replied.
The waffles were the size of coffee cups, and they were to be deployed in the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich ($5.95) at BBQue's Smoke Shack, a new barbecue fast-fooder at the top of the Ladies' Mile in Chelsea.
Chicken and waffles, of course, is a Harlem standard invented in the 1940s at Wells Restaurant, consisting of fried chicken and freshly poured waffles from a waffle iron, served in the wee hours of the morning, hence the seemingly strange juxtaposition. The dish eventually became semi-famous, though today it's harder to find than you might imagine.
So the transformation of the soul-food standard isn't entirely inappropriate. In this case, the thing is transformed into a sandwich with chicken fingers, miniature prefab waffles, and an egg, which catapults the dish more forcefully into the breakfast canon. It's served with syrup on the side, but what do you do with it? You probably don't want to pour it over the sandwich, since then you couldn't pick it up. Anyway, the bottom waffle is already slathered with sausage gravy -- another soul-food standard -- which is antithetical to the syrup.
The egg is strange and rubbery, but the entire assortment of ingredients is edible, and will lend a modicum of confusion to your meal, and maybe make you forget for a moment you have to go to work.
BBQue's Smoke Shack
668 Sixth Avenue
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