Authentic Liège waffles, bay breezes makes Seabrook eatery a destination
After a few quick turns off the highway, the cheerful blue neon Seabrook Waffle Co. sign comes into view, welcoming diners to a renovated cottage. Outside, pastel mix-and-match tables and chairs rest on the brick patio beneath a canopy of oak trees. Breezes off the nearby bay catch the branches overhead and the soft rustle of leaves sounds like sand pouring across a tile floor.
Although it’s midafternoon on a weekday, several groups of customers are, presumably, indulging their sweet tooth. But the savory waffles are equally appealing. The menu’s lineup goes toe-to-toe, but a glance at the specials board gives the impression the decadent dessert waffles are the front-runners.
The Seabrook Waffle Co. serves up Liège waffles that start with a dense, chewy brioche batter and include a key ingredient: Belgian pearl sugar. These small, coarse pieces of sugar melt and caramelize when they come in contact with the waffle iron’s hot surface, imparting a firm, crisp exterior. The resulting waffles are transcendent. Intensely rich and sweet, they’re springy and stretchy — thanks to the yeasty dough — and faintly crunchy.
Authentic Liège waffles have little in common with what most Americans refer to as Belgian waffles. A Brussels waffle vendor introduced “Bel-Gem” waffles at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, serving them with whipped cream and strawberries to the delight of attendees. The vendor quickly changed the name to “Belgian” and it stuck as his waffles soared in popularity.
Diners can create their own custom waffles or select from the menu and daily specials. Throw out the notion that waffles are just for breakfast. The savory Monte Cristo features melted Swiss cheese, slices of ham and turkey, a sprinkling of bacon and a warm dollop of local raspberry preserves. The balance of sweet and salty is exquisite. The chicken and waffle combo is a riff on the Southern classic. Well-seasoned breaded chicken sits atop a waffle cloaked in Swiss cheese, finely chopped bacon, hollandaise sauce and green onion. On the sweeter side, customers can order their Liège waffle topped with a variety of fresh fruit combinations, real whipped cream, Nutella and ice cream.
Spending an hour leisurely eating waffles under the shade of an oak tree is an incredibly attractive proposition. And luckily, it’s one that’s easy to give in to thanks to the Seabrook Waffle Co.’s Monday through Saturday schedule. If a customer can tear their eyes away from the waffles, they can see the steady stream of highway drivers in the distance, which makes their escape from the hectic routine of life just a little sweeter.
Seabrook Waffle Co.
1402 Fifth St., Seabrook