At a point early in the Tarantino film Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson's character tries to convince Chris Tucker to help him with a job by offering a free meal from Hollywood's infamous Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Tucker accepts and ends up dead in a trunk moments later. Well ... I suppose the moral is that the unlikely combination of fried chicken and breakfast waffles is a marriage so delicious that people are willing to risk death.
On a recent Friday afternoon, after fasting through the Battle of Flowers parade, I happily made my way to Tank's to taste it for myself. I was accompanied by two architect friends who requested elaborate pseudonyms for some reason, so recognize them as Ten Speed and Brown Shoes, respectively.
The layout of the restaurant is casual and the atmosphere is brisk. One orders at the counter and moves down the cafeteria line to find a table. The menu is simple: fried chicken and fresh waffle combination plates, daily specials, and desserts. Brown Shoes ordered the daily special ($6), which on Friday was fried catfish with french fries. Ten Speed and I tried the chicken and waffle plates, which varied in price from $3 to $6.
We all received salads to begin the meal. Brown Shoes took umbrage with his salad because he hoped for a more gourmet selection of greens. True, the salads were average but I wasn't expecting something elaborate. Tank's will succeed by the popularity of the chicken and waffles, not on extraneous ingredients.
So, how was the main attraction? The breading on the chicken (and the fried fish) tasted too overdone for my liking. The meat was a bit dry, but this may have been because the chicken was cooked earlier in the day. The fish, however, was quite moist and flaky. The waffles were huge and soft and went very well with the chicken, oddly.
Every time a new place opens I hope to be blown away (not Tarantino style), but sometimes a place is only good, not incredible. For those who want something different and affordable, Tank's is worth a try for lunch. If you're nursing a Friday-night hangover, I think Tank's is a great Saturday remedy as well. The East Side needs more places like this.
- Mark Jones