Industry Weekly

[Hot Plate]

Yardbird elevates chicken and waffles (and more)

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The bird is brined for 27 hours.
Jason Harris

It starts with the chicken. Yardbird has plenty of other delectable choices, but a meal here without the famous fried fowl is incomplete. In fact, one could say that this perfect poultry is the reason the Miami hot spot became so hot in the first place, and gave the brand the chance to expand to Las Vegas.

There are a number of ways to try the bird—on a biscuit, on its own, barbecued instead of fried—but the move to make is the Chicken ’n’ Watermelon ’n’ Waffles. Chicken and waffles has become a staple on many menus, but nobody does it like Yardbird. Here, the waffle—the foundation of the dish, which so often doesn’t hold up to the chicken—is laced with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese, making it sturdy and savory. The nooks soak up all the excess honey hot sauce and bourbon maple syrup, providing that breakfast-dessert pleasure few dishes can.

Yardbird’s fried chicken, perhaps the finest in the city, is first brined for 27 hours and then dredged. Word on the street is that it’s fried in bacon fat, taking it to its final, sinful place: tender and juicy with perfectly crispy skin. Really, it deserves a medal of achievement.

Also, the chilled spiced watermelon lives up to its name, bringing a bit of heat with the sweet. It cleanses and refreshes the taste buds and somehow seems to create more room in the stomach, egging you on for another bite. Yardbird at Venetian, 702-297-6541; Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-midnight, Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.-midnight.

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