Ever dream about a dish, then you taste it and it’s exactly as splendid as you had hoped? There must be a German word for this phenomenon. The truth is that more often, it’s the inverse. But in the weeks leading up to my first meal at Uncle C’s Chicken & Waffles in Alexandria, I had conjured expectations that were unlikely to be met. But they were.
The counter-service restaurant doesn’t look too different from the average fast-food joint, save the sign outside with its well-designed logo of chicken-shaped waffle. But wait a few short minutes for food, and the fireworks will begin.
Inside a cardboard takeout container is the airiest waffle you’re likely to taste. With an ultra-thin layer of glass-like crispness outside, the inside is so soft that it melts as soon as it makes contact with saliva. Sweetness comes from a dusting of powdered sugar and as much Smucker’s Breakfast Syrup as you choose to pour into the pastry’s crevices. A cube-shaped pat of butter in the center softens atop the warm waffle, adding its creamy assets to the proceedings.
Diners can order their waffle with wings, tenders, or “dark meat.” I wanted to try each, so I planned on getting one of each in my three-piece meal, but the counter staffer didn’t ask. I was thrilled when a wing, a tender, and a thigh waited in the container. The best of these is the oversize tender, with its garlicky, lightly spicy crunch. But each piece of chicken is fried to near perfection.
Too often, chicken and waffles is a dry dish that disappoints. But the specialists at Uncle C’s are serving up a picture-perfect iteration that can’t help but please. // 6308 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria
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