It’s been a while since I’ve had Korean fried chicken (aka KFC). I believe the last time was almost exactly a year ago at Bonchon Chicken. Why the long wait? I couldn’t say because I love it so, so much. Better late than never, eh? Whatever, let’s just get to the chicken.
Seoul Chicken just opened this past Fall and it’s a cool little spot in the Lower East Side with mostly stool seating at the u-shaped counter and the bar. The place has a young, hip vibe, helped by the colorful and contemporary paintings on the walls and sleek, silver counter tops.
Chicken is the name of the game here, and you can get it either as double fried wings, boneless chicken thighs, or boneless chicken strips in 1/2 pound or 1 pound orders. To complicate your decision-making process even more, there are SEVEN sauces to choose from. They are:
- Gochujang buffalo (gochujang is fermented red chili pepper paste)
- Palm sugar and kalamansi (kalamansi is a cross between an orange and a kumquat and quite sour)
- Szecuan peppercorn and sea salt
- Sriracha and honey
- Fish sauce and garlic
- Habanero kimchi
- Seoul dry spice (a house blend of what seems to be turmeric, black pepper, and garlic)
If you want, you can get your chicken served “Seoul style,” with lettuce, kimchi, and rice or “Southern style,” with potato rolls, pickles, and aioli.
Besides the chicken, they also have small plates like market greens, grits, fried cauliflower, and kimchi fries–of which my friend and I ordered the last two to go with our 1/2 pound of Sriracha and honey wings and 1/2 pound of Seoul dry spice wings. Note that the 1/2 pound will get you around 5 or 6 wings.
I don’t think I’ve EVER ordered cauliflower at a restaurant, but it had two things going for it here. 1. It seemed to be very popular on Yelp. 2. It was fried. Ha! The cauliflower was served with a spicy yogurt dip and quite tasty for a vegetable I normally associate with being run-of-the-mill and bland. I was expecting the kimchi fries, which had aioli on the side for dipping, to be served as regular fries with kimchi on top, but it actually just had a slight hint of the spicy, kimchi flavor.
While my friend and I chose the sauces we did because they simply sounded the most delicious to us, it turned out to be a great decision because we ended up with a balance of wings that were saucy and wings that were dry. Don’t be afraid of the Sriracha and honey if you don’t like spicy food, as these only have a light kick which is countered by the sweet honey. The dry spice wings had a nice crispiness to them and actually left my fingers stained yellow (hello turmeric!). This is one of those times when I really can’t say which I liked more because it was great going back and forth between the two options throughout the meal.
So, come to Seoul Chicken with some friends, order different sauces, chow down, and decide which is your personal favorite. Tough, huh?
Fried cauliflower, kimchi fries, 1/2 lb sriracha and honey double fried wings, 1/2 lb seoul dry spice double fried wings
71 Clinton St
New York, NY 10002