Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, 13865 City Center Drive (in the Shoppes), Chino Hills
Waffles are tasty for breakfast, and as any Roscoe’s admirer can tell you they pair perfectly with fried chicken, but do they make a good bread substitute for sandwiches? Bruxie, which is based in Orange County, thinks so. Expanding northward from its locations in Rancho Santa Margarita, Orange and Brea, they opened last December in Chino Hills, taking over a Johnny Rockets that had just closed in the Shoppes outdoor mall.
The joint was jumping on a recent weekday lunch. Occupying a corner spot, Bruxie has a wraparound patio and, because it was a warm day, had opened the rollup doors that separate the patio from the dining room, turning the whole restaurant into an open-air environment. (There were heat lamps operating on the patio.)
A friend who’d already eaten there twice met me. The menu has savory waffle sandwiches, sweet waffle desserts, salads, coffee and frozen custard, a Midwestern treat that is rare out here. For the uninitiated, it’s essentially ice cream that’s made with egg yolks. (The Bruxie website has an amusing and informative FAQ section, by the way.)
A greeter explains the concept for first-timers, a nice touch for a restaurant where you order at the counter. She described the waffles as light and crisp, much like toast, which proved true. Overhearing us discuss frozen custard while in line, small samples were profferred. That spared us from having to order that on top of the dessert waffle we wanted to try.
We shared a tuna melt with waffle fries ($10.45 as a combo), a chicken-and-waffle sandwich ($7) and a creme brulee waffle ($6.50). I preferred the chicken and waffle, a boneless, breaded piece of chicken inside a wraparound waffle. (You can get syrup for $1 but we didn’t.) My friend liked the tuna melt better, commenting on the tuna’s seasoning. To me, a connoisseur of the tuna melt, it was tasty but more like tuna salad and a waffle rather than melding into a unit. We liked the dessert waffle best, filled with strawberries and bananas and dusted with powdered sugar.
The meal was light and fun, as was the experience. I also had a root beer made with cane sugar ($2.50), like the rest of the sodas. I will definitely go back, especially for the frozen custard. No waffling on that.