Midtown Happy Hour: All You Can Eat Fried Chicken Deal at Third Floor Cafe
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” posts about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap. This week she hits up her second all you can eat happy hour in a row!!! (Very exciting…)
Koreatown has its fair share of fried chicken places. One thing they all have in common is the price. We’re not talking KFC here, and when you factor in drinks not only are you out of the ML price range but you are also putting a dent in your wallet that these days no one can afford. Then I read about Third Floor Café’s unlimited fried chicken and beer special on Tuesdays on Serious Eats. For $18 bucks (and with the right hearty eaters) this could easily be the deal of the year. It took me a while, but I finally made it out this past Tuesday.
It seem like most of the Korean fried chicken spots are well secluded, and Third Floor Café is no exception. Just like Mad for Chicken across the street, you enter an unassuming lobby and take the elevator to the café. The building isn’t much to look at, but then all of a sudden you find yourself in a hip lounge.
There’s an expansive bar, velvet seating for large parties, and a top view of the hustle and bustle of the city below. I was worried that with an all you can drink and eat special like this you’d have to arrive at 5pm (when the happy hour started) to score a seat- but I was wrong. At 6pm seating was still available at the bar and the tables, though don’t let that fool you into thinking this place is not popular. A quick look around and it’s easy to see that this is a go-to spot for many of the locals and business crowd. My group and I might have been mistaken for tourists in this mix.
I decided to starve myself, by only having a snack earlier in the day, to make sure I could really hit this unlimited deal as best as I could. The waitress explained the special and I was surprised to find out that Donkatsu (fried pork cutlet with cabbage salad) which usually runs for $16 was included as was the house wine (Barco Viejo chardonnay and merlot from Chile). The only disappointment was the limitless beer. The only thing offered with the deal is Coors, Bud, and Miller Light. No Kirin or even Sapporo beer.
We ordered the chicken first and were prepared for a long wait, but within a few minutes a heaping basket of golden chicken arrived. I expected “Korean” fried chicken and I guess my assumption was purely based on the fact that this was a Korean restaurant. It turns out what you get is hacked chicken with skin and bone-in that is then battered and fried like regular fried chicken
It was a little odd because these were not whole thighs/legs/wings, but instead you had a random chunk of dark meat attached to bone pieces and then a quarter of a breast piece with a little rib bone also in the mix. The batter was more tempura like than southern-fried and included a tomato based dipping sauce that I found to be bland. That said, it was perfectly edible and we devoured the first basket and the side of pickled radish.
Next on the table was the pork cutlet with the same red sauce on top and a cabbage salad topped with Russian dressing. It was good! Tender, crispy, porcine perfection! Obviously we had to order two more plates.
The service was incredibly attentive. Napkins, plates and drinks were consistently refreshed. We were asked multiple times if we wanted more of any food or drink item which was a welcome change from your typical unlimited deals where you have to flag down a waitress constantly. Even the bartenders were eager to ham it up for the camera.
Then came the kicker. The waitresses came to each table and offered free shots of their signature cocktails. One was a fruity drink called the Passion Point and the other was a Baileys and Godiva cocktail called the Chocolate Kiss. Then to further astonish us a huge steaming bowl of their flat fish cake and spicy rice cake casserole came to the table for sampling (presumably to keep us from drinking more!)
The fish cake was the best part but I also enjoyed the hard boiled egg. At that point we all hit the proverbial wall. There was no way we could down anything else. I was ready to fall asleep and dream of pink elephants.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- You get more than our money’s worth of drink and food for $18, plus it goes on till 8pm —plenty of time to gorge yourself
- Though the beer section is cheap the wine was very drinkable and a good match for the chicken and pork
- Friendly and attentive waitresses and barmen, plus a good possibility of getting surprising comps like soup or a shot
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- If you are expecting discernable chicken pieces or the Korean style fried chicken of Bon Chon you will be disappointed
- It’s only on Tuesdays, so for some this might be too early in the week for a boozy gluttonfest.
- Unlimited beer selection is limited to American swill
Third Floor Café, 315 Fifth Avenue (btw. 31+32nd), 212-481-3669
Post and photos by “Mamacita”