Fried chicken and waffles is definitely having a moment right now, and Brooklyn’s Sweet Chick is taking full advantage of it. It was an instant hit when it opened in Williamsburg in 2013, and since then additional locations have opened on the Lower East Side and in Los Angeles. The newest outpost opened on a prime corner on the border of Prospect Heights and Park Slope, and it’s nothing short of a game-changer for the neighborhood.
The smallish, triangular restaurant is on the corner of Flatbush and Carlton avenues and Park Place, and it takes full advantage of its space: the back wall is mostly taken over by a seven-seat bar, and garage doors open to the sidewalk on nice days. Even when at capacity, it never feels cramped.
The menu here is the same as at the other locations, with a nice selection of Southern-influenced starters; eight different spins on chicken and waffles; additional entrées like skirt steak, duck and short rib meatloaf, and shrimp and grits; traditional sides; and Southern-style desserts.
We started with macaroni and cheese, which is made with Gruyère, fontina, and aged white Cheddar and topped with a Ritz cracker crust, and it was gooey, creamy, well-balanced, and everything you look for in mac and cheese. We also tried the crispy and crunchy hush puppies loaded with crawfish and served with remoulade and sweet and spicy jalapeño jam (and we’ll be back for the watermelon and beet salad with blue cheese, grilled octopus with gochujang barbecue sauce and Carolina Gold rice, and Carolina-style barbecue pork sliders).
For main courses, we decided to try the traditional fried chicken and waffles; we chose a bacon Cheddar waffle to complement it (other options include classic, dried cherry, rosemary-mushroom, apple cinnamon, or spiced pecan). The chicken was moist and juicy, and the crust was crisp, crunchy, and full of flavor; this is some seriously good fried chicken. From the mind-boggling array of chicken-and-waffle varieties (including General Tso’s with a rice and broccoli waffle, chicken parm with a Parmesan waffle, chicken cordon bleu with a Gruyère and thyme waffle, Nashville fried chicken with a milk jam waffle, and hot honey chicken and waffles), we ordered the Buffalo fried chicken with a celery and carrot waffle with crumbled blue cheese (below). The dunk in Buffalo sauce was a very nice touch, and it didn’t make the crust soggy at all; the celery and carrot didn’t overwhelm the waffle either, which was light and airy on the inside due to the batter being folded with egg whites, but still crisp and buttery on the outside. The $12 cocktails are a lot of fun, too; We were fans of the French Inhale (rum, lime juice, basil syrup, and grapefruit bitters), the Sweet Chick (vodka, triple sec, watermelon, and lemon), and the Purple Drank (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, and Welch’s grape soda — ask for it without simple syrup, as it’s a bit too sweet).
There have been two previous restaurant attempts in this location in the past few years, both of which fizzled out unceremoniously. This one, however, has been packed from day one, with an hour-long wait for a party of two at 7 p.m. on a recent weekday. I live nearby, and it’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a restaurant that’s been this busy every night of the week; the only one I can think of is the dearly departed Franny’s. It also hit the ground running in terms of service, as the kitchen moved at a surprisingly well-paced clip for a restaurant that just opened; and the staff was super-friendly, low key, and knowledgeable about every menu item. As for the menu, it's deceptively simple, but it’s clear that there’s some real culinary talent on display here not just in the nearly-flawless chicken and waffles, but in surprising menu items like pork belly nuggets with kimchi, blueberry balsamic glaze, and pickled watermelon. There’s nothing else quite like Sweet Chick in the neighborhood, and we suggest you get in line.