What is American cuisine if not a mutant of the culinary world? So much of American cooking is about engineering food between two slices of bread. Hot dogs, hamburgers, sliced deli meat, peanut butter and jelly… these were the stepping stones to something much greater. Today, our ingenuity has taken us to new heights. I speak, of course, of waffles. Waffles are the new bread in which we can fuse our food in between. One such place that does this and is doing it well is a place near River Park called Griddle Me This.
Griddle Me This is a new restaurant in Fresno having opened in June of last year and is located across from Red Robin. The outside of the establishment isn’t exactly noteworthy, in fact, it’s very plain and unassuming, once could easily walk by without even seeing that it was there. However, the inside is a contemporary styled decor with shiplap on the walls, vintage lighting, and a few wood tables that are all pleasing to the eye. There are about forty to fifty seats with tables that can hold around 2-4 people and a couple of bar tables for individual seating. But you have to order before you sit, as there isn’t a wait staff to accommodate you.
Upon walking up to the counter I’m greeted by the cashier who asks me what I’d like. I tell him that this is my first time at Griddle Me This and that I’d like some recommendations. The cashier takes the care in asking me a few questions to get a sense of my pallet and I ultimately order the southern fried chicken sandwich along with waffle cut sweet potato fries. As I waited for my order I took a look at the various sauces they have available for sandwiches and fries. Barbecue and ranch are the staple condiments, but to my pleasant surprise, they also carry thousand island sriracha and maple syrup.
When my food arrives, it looks amazing. Everything is set to perfection almost as if it were Photoshopped. My first bite into the sandwich reveals some great flavor which is a combination of chicken, coleslaw, spicy mayo, and jalapeño. There isn’t a whole lot of chicken in the sandwich, but the sandwich is very well balanced overall because of it and allows me to taste every component. The soft and warm crispy waffle around the thin but juicy chicken played exceedingly well with the coleslaw and jalapeño. The spicy mayo wasn’t spicy enough for me, however, so I added enough sriracha to build the kind of heat I prefer and it made the sandwich truly spectacular. I tried my next bite with a little bit of the maple syrup and it did go well with the chicken and waffle, but once I tasted it with the coleslaw it’s not as complimentary. Instead, I try the syrup with a bite of sweet potato fries which are crispy and warm, but the syrup makes the bite excessively sweet. At first bite, it’s a pleasant experience but not one worth repeating. Instead, I go with the ranch and dip them on occasion into the sauce.
After finishing the meal I am certain of two things, first is that sliced bread is out and waffles are in. Second, even if you have a waffle maker at home, you’re not doing it like this. Get over to Griddle Me This because they are doing things between two magnificent gold waffles that should not be ignored.
Saeed is a local ‘foodie’ always on the hunt for the next great find of the Valley’s best-hidden gems. Twitter / Instagram: @kurshjak