Peter turned 29 this past weekend, and this was his invitation to the big event:
so isaac suggested that since we're in somewhat of a global credit crisis, we should be a little more sensitive to the location of our birthday dinner. he suggested kentucky fried chicken.
of course, knowing all the high rollers in the group, i scoffed...i said "isaac, my dear friend, for a dinner party like the one me and jason want to have, we can do no less than...
bon chon chicken
314 5th ave
(upstairs past the really fat black guy...you'll know what I'm talking about soon enough)
Now I'd heard Peter rave about the fabulosity of Bon Chon in the past, but the only thing I knew about the place was that the one near me on Chambers Street looks pretty similar to a KFC, so I was wondering if maybe he had taken the whole frugality thing a little too far.
But no, we were going to the Bon Chon flagship, if you will, in the heart of Koreatown. It is a full service restaurant, although it might be mistaken for a club when you first walk in. Dim, with low slung furniture and music pumping, it somehow managed to be festive rather than annoying (I would normally be annoyed with the music but it somehow enhanced the experience rather than detracted from it).
Upon arrival, I sat down in front of this very handy beer dispenser that Peter had had the foresight to order...
...and helped myself to some of the chilled (you see the column of ice in the middle? Brilliant!) Coors Light. Again, not generally my favorite, but I was loving it in the Bon Chon setting.
And then the platters of crispy, crispy fried chicken began to come, and with Peter ordering, there was no stopping them until we were all stuffed. According to the New York Times, the crispiness comes from a multi-stage frying process. First the fat is rendered from the skin, then a very thin batter is applied, then they are fried, then they rest, then they are fried...I don't pretend to understand the process, I simply enjoy the end results.
And the pickled radishes that go along with the platters are simply perfection. I could (and did) eat pounds of the stuff.
Also loved the kimchee pancakes, and the shoju was delicious as well (and deceptively alcoholic...oops). Lychee was the winning flavor, pear was number two. AVOID WATERMELON AT ALL COSTS.
We completely over-ordered (Peter: I think I over-estimated demand. Marissa: Wow, you really are a real estate person!), both on the food and drink front, and yet still the whole dinner only cost $40 per person. So basically the perfect restaurant. Festive, delicious AND cheap.