Review: Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles - Phoenix, Arizona
Another report back on a recent trip to Arizona. Here is a report back as a thank you to all.
Pictures can be viewed at:
This post is a report back on my original post:
In one corner we have Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles and in the other corner we have Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles.... California versus Arizona..... Los Angeles versus Phoenix..... The battle of the chicken and waffles looms...... I wish I could do a side by side comparison. Unfortunately, I haven't eaten Roscoe's for about 5 years now and don't remember too much about it. Sorry to set-up the battle and not have it actually happen.
I feel that ambiance and location influences are things that one's mind takes into account when eating somewhere. For some reason eating at a place with character adds to the meal. Purely due to logistics, we ended up going to Lo-Lo's in Scottsdale instead of the original Phoenix location. Really wanted to go to the Phoenix location because I heard that was the original and had a lot homier feeling than the strip mall Scottsdale location.
Lo-Lo's Famous Soul Food Platter - 13
Included in this platter were 3 pieces of chicken Southern fried or smothered in gravy and onions or two pieces of Catfish or Lo-Lo's red fish (cod) w/ 2 sides orders and cornbread. We went with the Southern Fried Chicken with the waffle and mac & cheese as the sides.
The waffle is freshly made upon order. I thought the waffle was good, but not great. It wasn't as fluffy and light as I would like it to be. The waffle we had at Matt's was in my opinion a lot better.
The chicken was nicely breaded and nicely seasoned, but once again, it wasn't anything that I thought was out of the ordinary. Again, it was good, but not great. When the chicken and the waffles were eaten together, though, it helped bump up the flavor a bit with the sweetness of the waffles and the savoriness of the chicken coming together.
The one dish that I really enjoyed was the Mac & Cheese. Extra cheesy and gooey. And the flavor of the cheese was really evident. One of the better mac & cheeses I have tasted in a while.
Overall, we thought that Lo-Lo's was good, but in my opinion, not something I would make a special trip for. Maybe it was because the Scottsdale location didn't have that soulful, backyard feel. Perhaps my expectations of eating chicken and waffles were too high, when in reality it was really just a plate of chicken and a plate of waffles.
That's funny - that happened to me as well when I FINALLY got a loaf of the much-hyped Phoenician chocolate cherry bread. I think I expected some kind of parade & fireworks display when I took a bite, but in reality it was just a loaf of bread. Sigh.
Chicken battle you say? Here we go...
I happened to eat at the Roscoe's in Hollywood just off Sunset last week and I must say that LoLo's does it better in just about every category. I should note that I've only been to the LoLo's in South Phoenix, since it's closer to me and I don't have much of a desire to eat in a strip mall restaurant that looks like a Quiznos.
Anyway, the chicken at Roscoe's had a thicker, crunchier coating than LoLo's, but was flavorless. I don't know if the flour wasn't seasoned intentionally, but it didn't have much taste. LoLo's chicken has more of a thin dusting of seasoned flour, resulting in a crispy exterior vs a crunchy one. Although dark meat is forgiving, the thigh and drumstick that I had at Roscoe's was cooked on the long side resulting in a less juicy product. Previous visits to Roscoe's yielded juicier chicken, so this may have been an isolated incident. Something that I like about LoLo's is that the chicken has always been cooked just right.
The waffles are a tie. To me, waffles are just waffles. Don't get me wrong, I like a good waffle but I question if a waffle can be refined and elevated beyond just a waffle. I've just never had a craving for a really good waffle. Perhaps I haven't ever had one that good? (well actually, the chive waffle at Bouchon with that gravy boat of bacon gravy goodness has caused a craving before). Maybe I just don't have a special place in my heart for a good plain waffle. Either way, the waffles are comparable. Ditto for the little spherical scoop of butter that comes on top of both of them.
The mac n cheese at LoLo's is slightly better, but I order my mac and cheese smothered and that's where the difference comes out. Roscoe's gravy is ehh. It lacks salt and pepper and reminds me of powered gravy mix - minus the salt and pepper, that is. Pretty much just a flavorless light brown gelatinous substance. LoLo's gravy is excellent and it's quality can be attributed to the chunks of vegetables, smoother texture, and full flavor.
I think that the food at LoLo's gets the nod in terms of taste and preparation, but there are two points that Roscoe's scores with me: booze and business hours. My visit to Roscoe's last week was at about 11pm on a Monday. I can't even count the times that I've been in Phoenix and wanted some fried chicken, only to look at my clock and feel a sinking of my heart knowing that LoLo's is long closed for the night. I've also been known to enjoy a cup (yes a cup, not glass) of really cheap wine to go with my meal. Roscoe's can handle the food and wine pairings that I love so much. They also bottled beer, wine by the carafe, and other fine selections such as Bartles and James and Pit Bull malt liquor.
coastalgypsy - Expectations can be a good thing and a bad thing. High expectations usually results in good/OK meal. Low expectations results in an outstanding meal. Not always the case, but it sure seems like it sometimes doesn't it?
fledflew - Thank you for the head to head comparison of Roscoe's and Lo-Lo's. This line of your is destined to become a classic "'I've also been known to enjoy a cup (yes a cup, not glass) of really cheap wine to go with my meal." Hhahhahah. There is nothing wrong with a cup of wine. Doesn't always have be in specially designed stemware.
To me there is no comparison between the two Lo Lo's locations. The original location south of downtown just makes the food taste better. The fact that you wouldn't be in that neighborhood, let alone go in the restaurant, unless you kniew about LoLo's says it all. Not only is the food very good, it's an adventure.