When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Jorge's Chicken and Waffles Location: 1212 E. Apache Blvd, Tempe Open: About a month Eats: Chicken & waffles, Mexican Price: $15 and under/person
Jorge's Chicken and Waffles. Even the name is intriguing. And when you look at the menu -- a diverse assortment of dishes that includes fried chicken, Belgian waffles, and carne asada tacos -- this new Tempe restaurant is at least worth a try.
Located next-door to Curry Corner, the 3,200-square-foot Jorge's Chicken and Waffles offers a large dining room and a side patio with views of busy Apache Boulevard, as well as a full bar. We stopped by for an early Friday dinner, and enjoyed a quiet meal in a mostly empty restaurant.
In addition to offering fried chicken and waffles, Jorge's serves a full spread of Mexican dishes and breakfast. You can order a scramble, burger, taco plate, or burrito, as well as a Belgian waffles topped with fruit. Looking for ceviche? Well, they've got that, too. And on the weekends you can count of the kitchen to be open until 3 a.m.
From the appetizers section we couldn't resist the Chicken Waffle Cone ($6.95), described on the menu as "sliced fried chicken breast and jalpeno coleslaw; served in a waffle cone." We were surprised to find the combination of chicken and waffle cone weirdly appealing.
We also tried the Carne Asada Melt ($9.99). The sandwich, made on toasted sourdough bread, featured melted cheddar cheese and pieces of steak -- and though the menu said there would be green chile, we didn't notice any in our sandwich. It's hard to mess up what's basically a glorified grilled cheese, but we really liked the carne asada. The abundance of melted cheddar unfortunately overpowered the flavorful grilled meat, but on its own the carne asada made for an enjoyable bite.
Ironically, the worst thing we ordered was the Chicken and Waffles ($11.99). Served on two separate plates, the entree came with a single piece of boneless, fried chicken and a medium-sized waffle. The chicken didn't offer much in the way of flavor, but was moist. As for the waffle, the breakfast specialty was pretty unremarkable.
From our small taste of the menu we don't really have any desire to explore more of Jorge's offerings. The carne asada was surprisingly good, but the price point feels high for what was mostly just average quality food.
We also have to mention that the management asks customers to write with permanent markers on the restaurant's wooden chairs. We're guessing it's supposed to give the restaurant a worn-in, laid-back vibe. But what it really creates is an unpleasant stench. Diners with an aversion to the smell of Sharpie should consider themselves warned.
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