I really did find the combination of fried chicken on top of waffles to be an odd combination when I first heard about it. I love waffles and fried chicken, but it never occurred to me that these two things would be great together. But after years of hearing about how it was a local soul food delicacy of sorts (and driving by Dames), we knew that we had to just go for it.
Dame’s immediately struck me as a charmingly decorated but definitely down-home style place. Because of the breakfast focus of Dame’s signature dish, it’s hard to imagine myself having a meal at there after 2 PM (though they must have business late since they have night-time hours), but it is definitely a great place for a pre-afternoon meal. We both found the staff super-attentive and the actual dining experience was great.
The menu at Dames focuses on its signature dish, with each of the chicken and waffle combinations included the combination of waffle and cuts of chicken with a specific type of shmear. We were both surprised at the use of the schmear which is almost always used to denote a particular type of cream cheese spread on a bagel. In this case it is a fruit-flavored creme that is meant to be spread over the waffle. I also loved the fact that the menu included a Vegan (and now apparently Gingerbread waffles) version of their dish, and I am actually quite tempted to give them try next time we visit. All of the dishes had stylized chicken oriented names, and I made my choice of the “red-crested rose comb”. This dish included drumsticks on top of a pair of standard waffles with strawberry shmear on the side.
Once my dish arrived, I spread the creme over the waffle, poured the syrup and dug in. The waffle was great with a light crispiness that didn’t fall prey to the heaviness issue that often ruins waffles. Let me say though, the thing that really made me fall in love with Dame’s was the fried chicken. Outside of Bojo’s, this was the first time that I have really loved fried chicken that I’ve eaten in North Carolina. The seasoning on the skin blew me away with a richness that included a combinations of spices that I can’t quite put my finger on but which I think included a touch of thyme. The chicken was both crispy on the outside and the perfect juiciness on the inside. Part of me wished that I could take a whole tub of the fried chicken home with me. In addition to the main event, I also had a side of the mac and cheese which a great rich and creamy compliment to the rest of the meal.
Dame’s is a great place to try a soul food original, and I highly recommend it to anybody who loves their fried chicken or waffles. Honestly, I personally can’t wait for another chance to visit Dame’s and eat another bite of their scrumptious fried chicken.