New Bon Chon Brings Korean Fried Chicken to John Street

Bon Chon on John 010

Korean food has to be one of my most favorite cuisines of all time.  Good soup? Check.  Awesome BBQ? Check.  An affinity for fiery condiments and sauces? Check and check.  So the first time I had even heard that there was such a thing as Korean fried chicken, there was no decision making to be done. It was simply a matter of dropping what I was doing and proceeding to the nearest purveyor of that delicious, crispy treat.  That place happened to be what was once Bon Chon on the corner of 32nd and 5th Ave.  Even though it’s now still essentially the same thing, a little part of me died the day they closed their doors.  So you can imagine how thrilled (and I do mean thrilled) I was to find that Bon Chon had moved in practically next door to my workplace.  There could be no waiting.  Lunchtime was now.

Bon Chon on John 002

Located on John Street where it gets t-boned by Cliff Street, Bon Chon on John is an easy jaunt from most Financial District offices.  Walking in the front door, it was different than the Midtown experience and seemed quiet for the lunch hour.  Most of the tables were occupied, but ordering was done at the counter where you then waited for your number to be called.  With no waiting in line and only a slight one for your food to be prepared, it was nowhere near the 45 minutes Zach waited in Midtown. The one downside to this process seemed to be that customers were having a problem finding the order number on their receipt.  The lady calling them out made multiple trips around the counter to examine everyone’s ticket.  Hopefully that’ll be one of the kinks they iron out in the next couple weeks.
Bon Chon on John 008

The menu was pretty different than what I was used to at the K-Town location.  If you’re truly abiding by Midtown Lunch etiquette, and I was for this trip, you pretty much only have one option as far as chicken is concerned: the small lunch for 7 bucks.  You then have a choice of only wings, only drumsticks, a combo of the two, or only white meat.  Avoiding decision-making, I went for the combo with a nice soy garlic hot sauce coating and, Heavens to Betsy, was that some damn good chicken.  The skin was a crackly, crunchy coat surrounding the juicy meat underneath that readily separated from the bone.  It was very much how I remembered it, though slightly less spicy than I wanted it to be.  The chicken came with pickled radishes and a choice of a side dish.  I decided to try the Kimchi Coleslaw, but wish I hadn’t.  It was too soupy and was more mayonnaise than kimchi.

If you’re not that into Korean fried chicken or don’t find it quite filling enough (a problem I just about ran into), I won’t hold a grudge and neither will Bon Chon. There are plenty of other options available including a Korean taco, though less than half are in the Midtown Lunch price range.  Still, from what I’ve read, this is one spot where we’ve definitely got the leg up on those Midtowners.  I’m certainly going back to pick my way through the menu and you can bet on me getting a few more orders of that tasty fried chicken.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • The chicken is so damn good. Crispy skin, juicy meat, tasty sauce
  • So much faster than the one in Midtown
  • Bon Chon is more than just good fried chicken, just check out the rest of the menu

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • If I’m paying $7 for some chicken, I better be walking away full, not just unhungry
  • The Kimchi Coleslaw didn’t taste much like kimchi and was too soupy
  • There are plenty of places I can get good fried chicken for cheaper than that

Bon Chon Chicken, 104 John St (btw. Cliff & Pearl St), 646-682-7747



  • Done. Lunch tomorrow. Thanks Chris!

    PS I’ve been to Bon Chon a few times and like KyoChon so much better, so when the midtown location FINALLY opens (or did it already?), Midtown will, once again, have the leg up on us down here. Sigh. (IMO anyways.)

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    I’m impressed by how well you cleaned your chicken bones!

  • Ha, thanks, Jae_em. I have my father to thank for that enviable skill.

  • oh my gosh!

    I went to the Chambers location. It was a fast food takeout version of Bon Chon.

    They asked me if I wanted rice or bread. And they had NO radish! I was reallly unhappy about that. I’m glad that this location has radish :)

  • I tried to go to Bon Chon since they opened down here but with KyoChon being sold in Cafe Hanover and Bon Chon opening right next to my favorite thai restaurant in the are, its hard for me to go in. But I’ll have to give them a try at least to see if they’re up to par.

  • i love korean food. all forms!

    soupy kimchi is a sin!

    and I love love love KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN!!!

  • I went there for lunch today to a pretty decent crowd. The staff is pretty unorganized and apparently forgot to tell a few customers that they just put a batch of drumsticks in, and it would be an additional 20-30 minute wait. This left quite a few of the other customers pretty upset.

    I found out from one of the other customers about this dilemma and had my order switched to wings and got it about 5 minutes later. Got back to work and I had not only wings, but drumsticks as well!

    Will definitely go back again, since I love the crispy yummy chicken, but will wait until the staff gets a grasp on the crowd.

    On a side note, the radish they include with your food at work is a BAD idea. Had quite a few people mistake the smell for something else, while I was just quietly munching away.

  • Good point, Saikai. I forgot to mention that the smell coming off the radishes was not at all office-friendly, so buyer beware.

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