If you ever had any doubts about a dish’s ability to cross cultural boundaries, all you need to do is look at the trajectory of chicken and waffles. Once considered a staple of soul-food joints, chicken and waffles has become a fixture at trendy neighborhood operations like Marvin and Creme, where gentrification has ensured that the dish enjoys a much wider audience.
It has even filtered down to genuine suburban haunts like Restaurant 3, the Southern-minded eatery in Clarendon that, believe it or not, does a version of C&W far superior to the one at Marvin. And for $15 a plate on the brunch menu, Restaurant 3 also does it a buck cheaper than Marvin.*
The key to chef Brian Robinson’s chicken and waffles is the bird, a generous hunk of (mostly) breast meat that’s thickly coated and fried to just the edge of greasiness. Technically, I believe this is called an airline cut, which seems to be making a comeback in the Baltimore area. Whatever you call it, though, Robinson’s bird provides that salty and savory counterpoint to the sweet waffle — not to mention a nice crispy fried-chicken crackle against the soft, syrupy buttermilk pillow.
This dish, in fact, may be the ultimate brunch option. It combines breakfast and lunch in a way that eggs and pancakes can’t begin to touch.
* Correction: The brunch (and not dinner) price for Marvin’s chicken and waffles is $13, which makes it $2 cheaper than Restaurant 3’s.