There seem to be few hallmark places when it comes to dining in the Los Angeles area, Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles among the more famous joints. Attracting eclectic groups consisting of tourist, locals, and David Beckham, it's 1970's nuance provides guests with Harlem's strange but famed combination of chicken and waffles, and of course other things.
I've been meaning to go Roscoe's for the past several years now, yet I never sought the opportunity nor did the opportunity seek me. It was not until several friends made reservations for 20 or so guests for a birthday celebration there. The table was ready and people started gradually straggle in. Once everyone settled in, we began to order and our food arrived soon after. I was impressed with the efficiency of the service, especially considering how large our group was. I ordered "Scoe's #2" which was chicken smothered with gravy with two waffles topped with scoops of butter.
At first impression, it was simply two pieces of chicken and waffles. Presentation was basic; nothing particularly fancy. The circular waffle alone was soft and buttery. The dark meat chicken was moist enough, but I was glad to order it with the house gravy because it gave it personality. Otherwise one could have just popped in some Kellogg Eggos in a toaster and ordered some KFC, which actually is a cheaper alternative now that I think of it.
Eating each individual item by itself seemed plain after a while. I then tried it together on the same fork and I still was not impressed-- at this point I questioned Roscoe's fame.
Chances are I did not pioneer this mix, but I ventured to try the audacious combination of waffle, chicken saturated with gravy, dipped in maple syrup. Yes, gravy and maple syrup. Very surprisingly, it provided an interesting sweet and savory flavor. Suddenly I was hooked and could not eat my entrée any other way. I shared the concoction with friends. Thankfully they agreed that it tasted good, which therefore proved my sanity. Phew.
Luckily I made that discovery; otherwise I would have been disappointed. Instead, I walked out from the old school diner into the present day feeling satisfied, full, and perplexed about what the heck I just ate.
Roscoe's has 5 locations situated throughout LA and Long Beach. You can check out their locations on their website. Parking at the Pasadena location was adequate; however it's not the best designed parking lot.
It's worth a trip.