Restaurant: R Music Bistro Bar/Bon Chon Chicken
Location: New York, NY
Open: Mon-Wed 5pm-2am, Thu 5pm-3am, Fri-Sat 5pm-5am
Date of Dinner: September 2, 2007
Cost of Dinner: $20 per person
Recommendation: Would Definitely Try Again, and other Korean Fried Chicken places I can find.
On the second floor of an unmarked and nondescript building on 5th Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets in the middle of New York's Koreatown is one of my favorite culinary finds.
At the R Music Bistro Bar, a clientele of mostly young Koreans gorge on perhaps the best chicken wings you will ever. Diners are seated on low chairs and low tables as they listen to American and Korean pop music. While this is a music bar, you do not come here for the tunes. You come for the fried chicken. Apparently, KFC has taken NYC by storm. Not Kentucky but Korean Fried Chicken. And the Bon Chon Chicken they serve at the R are the best I've ever had. Now I can't wait to try the other KFC's in New York, and there are two others, Unidentified Flying Chicken in Queens and Bon Bon Chicken in downtown Manhattan.
The fried chicken they serve at the R Music Bistro Bar is out of this world. If this sounds so overly dramatic, trust me when I say that it is no exaggeration. Now I'm not sure whether this is a music bar first, then a restaurant second, or vice versa. It looks as though there are Bon Chon franchises all over New York City.
They only serve two parts of the chicken: the drumstick and the wings. So if you only eat white meat, you are s**t out of luck. You can also order the drumsticks and the wings either as hot and spicy or as soy garlic.
We opted for the large special platter of hot and spicy drumsticks and wings. And to go with the platter, we also got seafood Korean pancakes and some very spicy rice noodles with pork.
The pancakes and the rice noodles came first, because here at the R, the Bon Chon chicken is made to order. The chicken pieces, apparently, are fried twice. They are fried for 10 minutes, removed from the oil, shaken vigorously for 2 minutes, then fried again for another 10 minutes. The result is chicken that is crunchy crispy on the outside without being burnt and nice and juicy on the inside. The star here is not the meat, however, but the skin. Personally, I wish that we should've just gotten all wings where there would be more chicken skin. The nice sweet, spicy, and crunchiness of the chicken is amazing.
I was about to dredge the chicken over the sauce that came with the rice noodles and my friend, Eric, stopped me dead in my tracks. "Don't waste good fried chicken by messing it up like that!"
No truer words were ever spoken!