On my 2012 trip to Maui, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop was a favorite stop for comfort food and pie. At that point, Sheldon Simeon was in the kitchen. He later advanced to the “Top Chef” finals and is now cooking at Migrant Maui in Wailea. Three years later, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Leoda’s is still going strong. Current executive chef Marcus Whisenant has even added several intriguing new dishes, including a standout Fried Chicken & Waffle.
When I saw Chicken and Waffles ($15) on the menu, I was wary of the fact they use white meat chicken, but needn’t have worried. A thin breast cutlet was crusted in cornflakes and fried to a golden brown, locking in the bird’s juices. The house-made waffle was crispy, but still had good give, and was a winning foil to the rich gravy, which was crafted with Thai sausage and cuts of bacon. Maple syrup contributed sweetness to each well-balanced bite.