Location: 638 Queen Street West
I’ve never had anything from Fidel Gastro, the food truck that spawned Lisa Marie, but after their outstanding offering at this year’s Burger Day (they served that event’s best burger, in my opinion), I knew that I’d have to check them out sooner or later.
I went for brunch, and while there were a few items that caught my eye, the one I settled on was the fried Cornish hen and cornbread waffles.
I have, sadly, been under the impression up to this point that I didn’t particularly like Cornish hen; the only other time I’ve had it, it was dry, not particularly meaty and, generally speaking, more trouble than it was worth.
Clearly, my first Cornish hen experience was just a sub-par preparation of what can be a tasty dish, as Lisa Marie’s version was the complete opposite: meaty and abundantly juicy, with a really satisfying flavour. I don’t think gamy is the right word to describe it, because it wasn’t that; it was very chickeny.
Yep, chickeny. That’s the kind of quality food writing that you can only find right here.
It also had an amazingly crunchy, perfectly seasoned batter that was fairly close to fried chicken perfection.
It’s the kind of dish that makes you unconsciously nod with approval, as if answering the same unasked question with each bite: “Why yes, it is delicious. Very delicious.”
The cornbread waffles are, I’m pretty sure, just cornbread that’s been cooked in a waffle iron. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you; I’m a cornbread fan, so I quite enjoyed it, particularly when drizzled with the provided cup of maple syrup.
I’d say it’s the best version of chicken and waffles I’ve ever had, but that wouldn’t be true; that honour goes to the chicken and waffles at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas. But second best is nothing to scoff at.
I got it with the duck fat home fries on the side. They were tossed with some kind of grainy mustard, and came with a spicy sauce on the side. They were a bit less crispy than I would like, and definitely weren’t on the level of that amazing fried hen, but they were still pretty good.