Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bon Chon - Nothing says love like Korean fried chicken

Is there an equivalent to the Grinch for Valentine's Day?

From Deviant Art
We've been married for 13 years and have gotten increasingly cynical over celebrating a Hallmark holiday over time. We also became annoyed with restaurants overcharging for special occasions, so we started our tradition of anti-Valentine's Day meals a few years back, when the husband took me to Revere to eat at Uncle Pete's. Fabulous BBQ with an Asian influence and a fraction of the price of a fancy restaurant, totally worth the scary trip into this part of town. We miss Uncle Pete's terribly - the restaurant closed in 2009 after Uncle Pete died, and we haven't found BBQ of the same caliber around Boston since.

This year's outing was to Bon Chon, a Korean chain restaurant in Allston. There have been a couple of reviews lately (see here and here) that got us intrigued, so what better time to go than Valentine's Day?

First off, the restaurant was far nicer than I expected. (I took no pics, as my anti-picture-taking-in-public stance remains in place). I guess when I heard chain restaurant, I was expecting the warmth of a KFC, so I was pleasantly surprised by it's almost hip-lounge-eatery feel. Even though it was busy, we only waited ~15 minutes to get a table. You need easily 15 minutes to go through the very comprehensive menu, consisting of Korean items on one side and Japanese items (mostly sushi) on the other.

(As a side note, I really don't understand why Koreans tend to have restaurants that serve both Korean and Japanese food. I know that's a gross over-generalization, but it seems to be a common thing in Boston.)

We ordered 20 wings, half with the soy garlic sauce and half with the hot sauce, thinking it would be the appetizer, to be followed with entrees (bulgogi for me, bibimbap with bulgogi for the husband). We're glad we ordered the main dishes because they came out first. In fact, I think it took 40 mins for our wings to appear, so at least we had some meat to nibble on. The Korean main dishes were edible but not particularly fantastic, we've definitely had better Korean food elsewhere.

The wait was worth it though - these wings are double fried without any batter, so the skin is extra crunchy. I've read that the double-frying makes it less greasy, which I don't entirely believe - these were pretty darn greasy, but boy were they good. They're also tasty as leftovers, after heating them in the oven to keep the skin on the crispy-side. Plus they come in this adorable takeout box - how cute is that?

We would definitely come back but be prepared to wait, and the next time we intend to eat only wings with a pitcher of beer - seems like the perfect way to spend another evening.

It also seems like we're not alone in our restaurant choice - thanks to Google Trends, Eater.com was able to discern that Americans are taking their valentine to a chain restuarant. Applebees, anyone?

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