Let Sunday, February 6, 2011 stand as the day my life changed. My way of thinking of chicken and waffles was turned completely upside-down by a woefully delayed visit to The Stockyards on St. Clair West in Toronto.
As a concept, chicken and waffles has always left me baffled, and I've tried a few touted ones. Why on earth would you want to have fried chicken covered in maple syrup? It just made no sense. And in a way, it still doesn't. Allow me to explain. The key to The Stockyards' version of this southern classic is a savoury syrup.
For $12, you get 3 pieces of the best fried chicken you've ever had, perched atop a fluffy belgian waffle and lightly drizzled with a chili maple molasses citrus glaze. Honestly, the colour on the chicken is a deep mahogany brown with incredible crunch. The buttermilk-marinated meat is moist and juicy. It's the way fried chicken should be.
There is just enough, a whisper, really, of sweetness from the maple and molasses in the glaze. The chili and citrus elements are what pull everything together to make the dish sing. I hoovered this food that, only hours before, I approached with suspicion at best. Realistically, I don't think I could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting, but as I ate, I started to regret sharing this. I'll definitely be back.
The Stockyards is located at 699 St.Clair Avenue West. They're open Tues-Fri from 9-9; Sat 11:30-9; Sun 9-8. It's a tiny space, so they don't take reservations, so expect a little bit of a wait, especially for Sunday brunch, which runs until 3 pm.