The Scoop: Korean fried chicken might be a relatively new trend here in NY (it only really picked...The Scoop: Korean fried chicken might be a relatively new trend here in NY (it only really picked up in 2007, when the BonChon franchise made the front page of the New York Times), but in Seoul, it's like the equivalent of Starbucksone on every corner. Now, we know you're still only just getting used to the excitement of the double-fried, juicy goodness, but let's see if you can handle yet another level of awesome: A BonChon Chicken location, right here in Midtown, that's been voted #1 in Midtown Lunch's reader's poll and is also a bar and beer garden. We know, we know. It's almost too good to be true. Luckily, this place is no joke. Owner Simon Lee combined his love for BonChon Chicken (getting in on the franchise as soon as he tried their version of his childhood favorite) and nightlife (oh, yeah, he's also a club owner) to make sure you can get your snack on any time of dayfrom weekday lunch to late-night snackwithout even missing a beat.
Let me break this thing down for you here. As in, why this BonChon Chicken spot is far superior to just about any other you could go to for a little tender, twice-fried, crispy heaven: First and foremost, owner Simon Lee, always a devotee to quality, only uses the best ingredients, since he wouldn't want to put anything less in his own mouth. Hence, the veggie-fed, cage- and hormone-free organic Bell & Evans chicken he has delivered daily. Second, his secret. sauce. is. ridiculous. We know it's soy garlic, but that's about as much as Simon reveals. FYI, watch out when ordering the "spicy" version. They're not just giving you lip service by calling it that. Third of all, Simon knows your weekday lunch isn't a time to lollygag. So, even if it costs him precious meat, he cooks wings continuously throughout the day, so they're ready just as fast as you can order them. And if they don't sell, oh well; Simon'll bite the bullet and toss 'em. But if they do, he's just eliminated that dreaded 45-minute wait Korean fried chicken is notorious for. Brilliant!
But the thing that really sets this place apart from all the rest is that it's so much more than just a place to grab some unbelievably good Korean fried chicken. Built like a sports bar, it's replete with reclaimed wood paneling from the Brooklyn Bridge and memory foam bench seating (hey, if you're gonna settle in for the long haul, you might as well be comfortable). Which makes the industrial-rustic space a supreme destination for pitchers of beer (or bottles, or a 20% alcohol soju cocktail if, you know, you're feeling wild) and catching a game... projected in HD on one of three 153-inch screens. Uh, yeah. When there isn't one on, expect some "Holy crap!" music video moments, as anything from MJ's Free Willy song to Cee Lo are played over a 10-speaker system for your listening and viewing pleasure. And when it gets a little warmer, you can look forward to the 3500-square-foot public park out back, which BonChon Chicken (with exclusive access and an outdoor liquor license) turns into Midtown's only beer garden after 7 p.m. But be warned, people: this place gets packed to an uncomfortable degree Thursday through Saturday, so hit it up Sunday through Wednesday for an optimal eating and drinking experience. Even if you're just staying indoors.
Homemade White Meat Tenders, $5.99 (six pcs.), $9.99 (10 pcs.) or $18.99 (20 pcs.)
BonChon Wings, $5.99 (six pcs.), $9.99 (10 pcs.) or $18.99 (20 pcs.)
BonChon Drums, $5.99 (three pcs.), $9.99 (five pcs.) or $18.99 (10 pcs.)
BonChon Mixed Chicken, $5.99 (four wings & one drum), $9.99 (six wings & two drums) or $18.99 (12 wings & four drums)
Seasoned Fries, $6.99
Bul-Go-Gi Taco, $8.99
Sesame Ginger Tofu Salad, $9.99
Monday – Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Thursday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.