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Desert Companion

Fork off!: Whose chicken and waffles rule the roost?

Two dishes duke it out. DW Bistro’s Jerk Fried Chicken and Waffles, meet Hash House A Go Go’s sage fried rendition. Fight!

Sweet or savory? This is the common dilemma facing those who brunch, one solved by the unlikely pairing of chicken and waffles. Once only found in a handful of restaurants across the United States, this soul food specialty is now ubiquitous, even earning (to the dismay of some) a temporary spot on IHOP’s menu. (It’s only a matter of time before a chicken and waffles-inspired cupcake becomes a thing.) Let’s compare two riffs on this stick-to-your-ribs comfort classic to find which version rules the roost.

The contenders: DW Bistro’s Jerk Fried Chicken and Waffles ($14), and Hash House A Go Go’s Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles ($15.95)

The chicken: Hash House coats two large bone-in breasts with crispy cornflakes and fresh sage, but could benefit from a heavier hand while seasoning. DW opts for two boneless breasts, covered in a moderately spicy, beautifully orchestrated jerk flour blend and made memorably juicy by brining. Winner: DW Bistro.

DW BistroThe waffles: DW reigns supreme in the flavor department, adding pure vanilla extract, rum and a splash of Cointreau to the batter. Hash House earns points for playing the “everything’s better with bacon” card: A thick slice of the hardwood-smoked variety is baked into the waffle itself — genius. Both buttermilk waffles could be crisper on the exterior to contrast their fluffy interiors and stand up to the syrup. Draw.

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The fixins: While Hash House’s plate comes well accessorized, with a “secret blend” maple reduction, scene-stealing crunchy fried leeks, diced peppers and a drizzle of their own salty-sweet barbecue sauce, sometimes less is more. The rich but clean flavor of DW’s pure maple syrup, simmered with nutmeg, cinnamon and dark rum and the sprinkle of fresh orange zest round out the dish perfectly. Winner: DW Bistro.

The look: In their signature style, Hash House’s massive platter arrives with an exclamation point in the form of a vertical steak knife holding together the heaping tower of food, topped with a rosemary plume. DW takes a minimalist approach (well, minimalist for chicken and waffles), as if to say, “Our flavors speak for themselves.” This may be true, but more foodies are snapping photos of the Hash House plate with their iPhones. Winner: Hash House.

Chicken and waffles champ: DW Bistro.

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