•    KyoChon   

    If you haven’t tried Korean fried chicken, then you have an assignment this weekend – no excuses (unless you’re vegetarian of course). Settled nearby in the outskirts of Koreatown toward 5th Avenue and 33rd Street, you’ll find KyoChon. You can’t miss it.

    When I first saw the restaurant (I was traveling with my group late at night on a rainy day and stumbled across this restaurant just across the street from Starbucks), I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The façade is fully glass with the modern interior fully exposed. The image of this restaurant is so vivid – the bright red interior; the warm lighting; the spiral stairs; the second floor with a bar-like atmosphere. Standing outside, Vantashia (an employee) was handing out menus for the restaurant. We were curious. The décor was amazing and it had a very ‘American’ feel to it, but the restaurant, according to its name was, Korean. We asked Vantashia when this restaurant opened because it appeared to be new. We were right – she said it opened only two months ago. The other two restaurants are in Flushing, Queens where there is a large Korean community.

    We asked Vantashia about the food. She said that Korean fried chicken is not like ole’ Mr. Sander’s KFC. Korean fried chicken is lighter and there’s less grease. The flavors are, of course, very different. It’s specialties are the signature wings and drumsticks that come in two flavors: soy garlic and hot & sweet.

    What’s for dinner? KyoChon fried chicken.

    Walking through the glass doors, the feeling was electrifying. It felt as if we were going to a club… to eat fried chicken. Although it was nearly 11 P.M., there was still a substantial number of customers dining – a typical scene in Koreatown. We were seated in the second floor beside a group of young Asian students to our left and European tourists to our right. The atmosphere was tranquil, yet vivacious with its gleaming red, blue, and yellow lights that embraced the space.

    We ordered two flavors: the signature soy garlic drumsticks and the hot & sweet drumsticks. For $14, we each got 6 medium-sized pieces – a bit expensive for our small wallets. I ordered the soy-garlic – it wasn’t the best, sorry to say, but it was decent. I’ve tried the same flavored Korean fried chicken at BonChon’s located at Union Square and it surely set the bar for me. BonChon’s is also a rising Korean fried chicken chain restaurant found throughout New York. In fact, it has found a new location just down the block from KyoChon’s, expected to open within months. Anyway, back to the chicken. Tanvir and Raymon ordered the hot and sweet drumsticks. According to Raymon, the drumsticks were just hot. Where’s the sweetness?! Tanvir had his own thoughts about the flavors – it was spicier than the spiciest dish his mother made. I looked to my right. The European man seemed to be choking on his wings and was begging for more iced water. Is Korean’s ideal level of spiciness that intense? By the time I finished, I asked Tanvir whether he was full. He said, “I’m not full, I’m just exhausted.” Now that’s hilarious.

    Soy-Garlic                                                                      Hot & Supposedly Sweet

    For more information, visit: KyoChon.com