Forget Buffalo Wings, Who’s In the Mood For Some Bon Chon?
Now that the Super Bowl is out of the way, you’re probably sick and tired of fried chicken wings. Here at Midtown Lunch, we never get tired of fried chicken, especially when it’s covered in a sweet and spicy sauce. Many of you probably had traditional buffalo wings for the big game, but Korean fried chicken is not like Southern fried chicken or buffalo wings. The texture contrast and sauces make Korean fried chicken a different beast. A beast that I like eating. When I heard about Bon Chon opening up on 38th, I was really ecstatic until I heard about the 2 hour wait… After waiting for the dust to settle and giving Bon Chon time to figure out a better system, I decided to go check out their famous Korean fried chicken.
First let’s talk about the menu at Bon Chon. It’s a four-step ordering process. You pick the number of pieces you want along with whether you want ‘Drumstics’, wings, white meat (which is like chicken tenders), or mixed. I would list out all the possible price combination for the Midtown Lunch audience, but it’s way too complicated. On the menu, this part is displayed in a 4×3 matrix and the prices are listed as lunch prices. If you want dinner, add $2 to every price. So after you pick the amount of chicken, you choose a sauce (soy garlic or hot & spicy.) They allow you to mix sauces if you order a lot of chicken, but if you just get the 3 piece meal, you’re only allowed to order one sauce. Then after the sauces, you pick a side. Coleslaw, dinner roll, yellow rice, or french fries. On the day I went, they didn’t have yellow rice, and only had white rice.
So now you’re wondering what the fourth step is in this ordering process. The fourth step is for add ons… sort of. They have over ten things on this section, but they only had four available for now: fried calamari ($13), zucchini fries ($11), mini shrimp and onions ($14) and soy pot stickers ($10). Clearly if you want chicken plus something else and stay in the Midtown Lunch price range… then you’re out of luck for now. If you want to try some of the cooler sounding things on the menu, like bulgogi taco, you’ll have to wait a little bit. Call ahead before you go and confirm what the kitchen has that day. I think they still might be getting over the shit-storm stage of a recently opened restaurant.
I picked the $7 dollar meal with both drumsticks and wings and I got ‘em spicy. You get 1 drumstick and 4 wings, but they actually threw in an extra drumstick. Maybe they got so busy that they just started piling chicken into a container and shoving it out of the kitchen. The chicken itself is first rate. The skin basically acts like a hard cocoon for the moist meat. It’s not just any cocoon, it’s a crunchy one with a sticky and spicy glaze on the outside. I know many of you out there can handle the heat and prefer it when restaurants don’t hold back. I’m happy to tell you that the Hot & Spicy sauce delivers. It’s not unbearably hot or anything, but it’s definitely strong enough for you to notice. That’s where the pickled daikons come in handy. They give you a little cup of pickled daikons as part of the meal and it’s cool and refreshing. The french fries were nothing to write home about. They came crunchy like the chicken, however they weren’t seasoned. If you love thick cut french fries, then these obviously aren’t for you.
I had to wait 30 minutes from the time the order was placed to the time chicken was consumed. This wasn’t too much of a burden because they had TVs in the restaurant. Bon Chon has three flat screen TVs on the first level, and even more on the second level seating area. During the wait, I noticed people who just came in and picked up large orders and walked away with bags and bags full of food. The trick at Bon Chon is to call ahead and place your order, otherwise you’re going to be waiting because the fried chicken process takes some time.
Also, the real Korean fried chicken aficionados out there might have a favorite chain for this stuff, and might not like Bon Chon. I know there’s a Kyochon opening up sometime in the next fifty years. So we’ll see what their chicken is like when they open…
The + (What somebody likes this place would say)
- Korean fried chicken is awesome
- I need variety aside from Popeyes
- The potentially long wait doesn’t bother me
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- If they ever run out of chicken when I get there, I can’t wait even longer
- 1 wing is actually 1/2 a wing. So you’re paying $7 for 3 full chicken wings, or 1 drumstick and 2 full wings. That’s too damn expensive!
- I’d rather go to Popeye’s. It’s cheaper, and quicker.
- Kyochon is much better…
Bon Chon Chicken, 207 W. 38 St. (btw. 7+8th), 212-221-3339