Sunday, March 25, 2007

Not Just for Breakfast Anymore (Amy Ruth's)

My friends M (of What's Left Behind ) and S were in town this weekend - and time with them always means food, good food. Given their willingness to go to anywhere for good food, I suggested that we head uptown (i.e., convenient to none of us) to Amy Ruth's (116th between Lenox and 7th - right near the 2/3 subway station). I had never been, but had heard great things about it.

When we got there, we were told that breakfast was no longer being served, I was a bit concerned as I had heard great things about the waffle and fried chicken option. It turns out that I needn't have worried, waffles are apparantly not just for breakfast anymore (the waffle section on the menu is as big as the breakfast section).

Once seated, I read over the menu, but now that I knew that waffles were back to being an option - I knew that I was getting the waffles and fried chicken. Every minute I was there, I was more convinced that this was a great place: there wasn't a line (though there was a big one on the way out), everyone gave us very warm welcomes and then - there on the menu - I saw what for me clinched that it was my kind of place "Only real maple syrup served", I was very happy - that's a rule that all places should have. As soon as we ordered, they brought us biscuits. They were fantastic!

Now interestingly enough, they weren't what I normally would have considered biscuits being more bready than flakey - but the flavor was incredible. I could have eaten a dozen, which luckily, they did not bring - because I still had my meal to go. And with the mac & cheese on the side (couldn't resist ordering it), I needed all the space I could get.

I am now including a gratuitous maple syrup photo, because proper respect for a restaurant that serves the real stuff demands at least that.

I was excited for the meal, but let's be honest, I figured that the waffle would be a mere vehicle for the fried chicken and maple syrup combination. Oh, to be wrong like this more often... This was easily the best waffle I have ever had. This was actually better than I would have thought waffles could taste. Most waffles (especially this Belgian-style kind) seem to be kind of cardboard-y. This had a soft moist interior that was absolutely delicious. I savored each bite - some with chicken and maple syrup, some just with the syrup (and butter, of course). It was heavenly.

And then I tried the mac & cheese - and to think I hadn't thought it could get better. If this wasn't the best mac & cheese I've ever had, it was darn close. I think that it had some sour cream or something in, it was rich and tangy. The only downside was that I really couldn't finish everything and I had the constant dilemma of whether I wanted to prioritze the waffle/chicken or the mac & cheese. As far as problems go, that's not a bad one to have though.

M and S both had waffles with fruit (apples and blueberries, respectively) and enjoyed theirs as well. They also tried the mac & cheese and supported my assertion that it was amazing. We spent some time talking after we had finished and never felt rushed. All in all, between the service and the food - I am a huge fan of this place.


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