Recently I was in LA to lend what little cooking skills I have to a Hollywood production and I asked my fellow cooks what’s the hip, must eat stop to take my parents to go eat breakfast in the morning? The overwhelming response was Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles. So with that, I settled on the ‘original’ location in Hollywood itself.
As with all parts of LA, parking could be an issue. We arrived shortly after opening on a Thursday so we had the pick of the litter. I’ve heard of horror stories of militant meter ladies that parade up and down the street looking hawkishly at the 1-hour meters for violators. I just set my alarm for 55 minutes prepared to feed the machine if need be.
Now, having been born and raised in Southern California and having lived in the South (Georgia) for the last few years, I have a unique perspective on what a good fusion of the two should taste like. So, I was excited to experience a restaurant whose theme is based off of the classic pairing of sweet and savory.
The aura that the establishment ebbs is one of an old school diner (but all in wood) complete with a street side greeter (a wonderful, elderly man who welcomed us to the restaurant). His presence was nostalgic, again harkening back to simpler times when customer service meant making the patrons feel like they were entering a home instead of a business, a nice touch. On a side note, our server was quite good, continuing the great customer service theme. But once one enters, the good feelings of nostalgia end, as we were lead into a dated and tired serving area. Bare and underwhelming, it distracted from the food experience.
The menu was classic diner food, but I would not be kept off target. I went straight for Herb’s Special, ½ a whole fried chicken (both light and dark meat) and two waffles. It was a substantial amount of food easily split between two, but I was hungry, there would be no stopping me. The chicken was perfectly fried, well spiced and incredibly juicy, it was well worth the trip alone. WOW.
The waffles, on the other hand, were a mixed bag. I was impressed with the flavor as it was nuanced with spice but the execution was spotty. It wasn’t properly crispy on the exterior and somewhat undercooked on the interior (operator error v. concept), a slight disappointment. My parents additionally ordered some grits (besides the before mentioned chicken and waffles) but left the majority in the bowl as it was under seasoned.
On the whole, I enjoyed the Roscoe experience and would recommend a trip to one of their establishments when seeking some old school diner fare with quality service. The savory chicken with sweetly spiced waffles is a fun departure from the usual So Ca food. A recommend.
Review date: May 2013