The Korean fried chicken phenomenon, which emerged on New York hound radar last year, turns out to have legs. Also, killer wings.
Bon Bon Chicken, a downtown newcomer, follows the proven formula: high-quality chicken cooked to order in a two-stage process that produces a crisp, delicate crust, with seasoning options that include chile and soy-garlic. The bare-bones menu requires just three decisions: type (wings, strips, or wings and drumsticks), flavor (spicy or mild), and size (small, medium, or large, priced from $7 to $19). “Piping hot, golden, crispy and DELICIOUS!” raves cheftamara, who went with the spicy style. Alongside comes cooling but unexceptional cole slaw and a sort of sad roll. “But who cares when the chicken is so awesome?” she adds.
Meanwhile, the popular Bon Chon chain, having already colonized Flushing’s Northern Boulevard, has taken Manhattan. Its Koreatown shop, which occupies a cool, clublike upstairs space on Fifth Avenue, fries up crispy, tasty chicken as late as 4 a.m. ESNY reports tender, juicy meat sheathed in tight, crackly skin with a thin lacquer of sauce. Bon Chon, like most of its competitors, cooks to order. The Manhattan location has been unusually slow in its opening weeks; customers report waits as long as 40 minutes.
In Queens, the whimsically named Unidentified Flying Chicken has touched down in Jackson Heights, offering similarly dependable chicken (sauces are soy-garlic and sweet-spicy) and sides that include sweet potato fries. The mood is warm and publike, and should become even more so once the liquor license comes through. UFC’s chicken is quite good, just a notch below Flushing’s Bon Chon, says surly, who suggests that Boom Boom Chicken, a former Bon Chon outlet in Fort Lee, New Jersey, might be the best in the region. No details on Boom Boom, but its menu looks much like Bon Chon’s.
In Woodside, there’s another Korean chicken option, not cooked to order but tasty and reasonably fresh if your timing is right. Among the prepared foods at the Han Ah Reum supermarket is fried chicken in crunchy, oniony batter, reports welle. “The minute I bit a piece from it, I knew I had found another addiction—it was soo good!” Just $4 for 10 pieces—and a buck more for a container of sesame-chile-scallion soy sauce.
Bon Chon Chicken [Midtown]
314 Fifth Avenue, between 32nd and 31st Streets, 2nd floor, Manhattan
Bon Chon Chicken [Flushing]
157-18 Northern Boulevard, between 157th and 158th Streets, Flushing, Queens
Boom Boom Chicken [Bergen County]
formerly Bon Chon Chicken
553 Main Street, near Jones Road, Fort Lee, NJ