How versatile is waffle batter? Just ask Bart Vandaele, chef and owner of Belgian restaurants Belga Cafe and B Too. “We’ve had beef tongue waffles, waffles with cheddar cheese and fried quail, goat cheese waffles, waffles stuffed with crab and topped with saffron,” he lists. “We’ve been serving savory waffles for so long it’s not fashionable to me anymore.” To many diners, the idea is still novel. For those interested in trying waffles on the saltier side, we recommend the following.
1712 I St. NW, 202-944-2700, and 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, 301-469-0006; wickedwaffle.com
“We go from liquid dough to finished product in three minutes,” says Wicked Waffle owner Thierry Jugnet of his super-speedy, super-fresh savory waffle sandwiches (also available in gluten-free varieties). “There’s no way bread or wraps or buns can be done that fast.” In lieu of those more traditional carbs, Wicked Waffle uses crispy, light-as-air waffles to contain your deli meats and cheeses. Our favorite? The croque monsieur, above, made with grilled ham, cheese and a creamy bechamel sauce.
Open City at the National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-965-7670, opencitydc.com
The second location of this cafe (from the same team behind Tryst and The Diner) is much smaller than the original Woodley Park spot. The space limitations caused the kitchen staff to get creative. “We were trying to figure out ways to maximize our brunch options, so we decided to add savory waffles to double the offerings,” says Gaby Campos, general manager of the new location. Options include sun-dried tomato with basil, above, and country ham and Gruyere. “A lot of people question if they’re good, and I‘m like, you have no idea,” Campos says.
1324 14th St. NW; 202-627-2800, btoo.com
Pull up to the waffle bar at chef Vandaele’s restaurant, where one of six sizzling waffle irons is ready to crank out something special for you. In addition to sweet standards like a waffle with bananas, beer caramel and a buttery crumble, B Too also serves a waffle stuffed and topped with lobster meat as well as a wild mushroom waffle, above, that has porcini dust mixed into the dough. “The Americans are very open to the idea of savory waffles, but my Belgian guests were very surprised,” Vandaele says of the unconventional serving. “They tell me, ‘This isn’t how you make waffles.’ “ They’re missing out.
You may also like: