We've all seen fried chicken and waffles pop up on menus across Denver. And to be honest, most are really, really good. But chef Jeff Bolton wanted to offer something new, something twisted and specifically Southwestern, on his menu at Kachina Grill. Enter blue corn and jalapeño waffles with shrimp.
"I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing. And I wanted it to fit our menu. When most people think of Southwestern, they think of Mexican food. But it's more than that," he explains.
"We want to represent the entire Southwest here. The restaurant is inspired by the pioneer days and so is the food. In this dish, the blue corn is Native-American inspired and there is Spanish influence in the chipotle."
He calls the dish a little risky to put on the menu and when it first appeared, he wasn't sure how it would sell. But those reservations were quickly put to rest and it has become one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
To make it, he starts with a blue corn batter, adding jalapeños for a little crunch, color, and heat. While they bake into waffles, he takes spicy shrimp and sears them with a corn salsa, then cream and lemon juice, and finally a generous serving of chipotle butter.
This creamy sauce becomes the base for the waffles and the shrimp tops the dish.
"The flavor combination is so different and it catches people by surprise. It's pretty too."
He recommends their prickly pear cocktail or a nice mezcal to accompany the meal.
This dish is available as an appetizer or entree during lunch and dinner service. And you can find the waffles paired with fried quail and chipotle agave syrup at brunch.