12.24.2008

Indy dining: Maxine's Chicken and Waffles

After the Colts-Lions game (or should I say, the Colts' victory over the Lions), Kurt and I headed to Maxine's Chicken and Waffles on North East Street. Pulling up, we noticed that the restaurant was attached to a Citgo station. I'll admit, in spite of the glowing reviews, I was ready to go somewhere else at this point. Upon entering, I was glad that we didn't. The dining area is spacious and decorated in a warm, contemporary style, not at all what you'd expect from the external appearance. A counter covered with huge slices of three layer cake separates the dining room from the open kitchen. The vibe was warm and friendly from the get go. I knew good things were in store.

Ordering was a no brainer. Both Kurt and I wanted to try the chicken and waffles, and fried green tomatoes had long been on my list of foods to sample. Our waitress, Maxine's granddaughter, asked how we'd like the tomatoes fried. The choices apparently are soggy and crispy. Figuring you can hardly go wrong with anything fried and crispy, we chose the latter. They arrived quickly with a bowl of homemade dipping sauce. The oniony flavor of the sauce complemented the tomatoes well. Not being a fan of tomatoes (or anything green for that matter), Kurt was initially skeptical. They were fried in a cornmeal batter reminiscent of catfish batter and were remarkably light and not in the least greasy. Kurt loved them and proclaimed them the best dish of the evening.

Our chicken and waffles arrived along with a plate of fried cornbread and peach butter. The large waffle was topped with three sizable chicken wings and accompanied by more peach butter. The waffle was light and sweet and would have been wonderful on its own, but topped with a bite of crispy fried chicken and a dab of peach butter, it created a salt-sweet-crunchy-pillowy combo that was unbelievably good. Anyone who likes the sweet-savory flavor of sausage and maple syrup will appreciate this as well.

Kurt ordered Maxine's special drink, the D&K tea. It's a mix of half lemonade and half sweet tea. I expected it to taste like sweet tea with lemon, but the result was a bizarre one-two punch of lemonade with a sweet tea chaser. Strange, yet I kept going back for more sips until Kurt told me to just finish it off. A good boyfriend! Both the lemonade and tea are quite sweet on their own, possibly too sweet for many people. I found it inexplicably addictive.

After we gorged on all things fried and buttery, we decided we couldn't pass up the chance to try a piece of the homemade cake. Kurt opted for caramel at the recommendation of the cook behind the counter. The other options were strawberry and lemon. The cake was moist and the icing had a sweet caramel flavor. A little icing went a long way, and we managed to finish off the cake while leaving some of the icing behind. We were stuffed by this point, but happily so.

On the way out, I told Kurt that it was a good thing I don't live closer to Maxine's because I'd probably go there far too often. I have a weak spot for homemade, (unhealthy!) Southern cooking, and my sense is that everything at Maxine's is delicious. The service was friendly and fast, and it was great to see a family working together. I wish much success to Maxine's, and I'm already itching to go back. I have my eye on the catfish and that gloriously pink strawberry cake.
D&K tea

Fried green tomatoes

Fried cornbread and peach butter

Chicken and waffles

Homemade caramel cake

4 comments:

James said...

You can never go wrong with bird for dinner!

Toyoki said...

Good lord, Rebecca ... didja save some for me? Whoa!

Rebecca said...

I'm afraid we were shameless and ate it all. It's a 'must try' if you ever visit Indy!

casch said...

I just finished dinner not too long ago and I'm stuffed, but I am certainly ready to try that tea and the caramel cake! Love your narrative.