Lunch at UFC (Unidentified Flying Chicken)
After having read the recent review of Korean fried chicken places on the NYT, and having had a pretty good fried chicken experience at the Cheogajip branch in Virginia some time ago, I decided to try out UFC for lunch today. It's located at 71-22 Roosevelt Avenue right under the elevated line, in a small storefront shop. When I got there, at around noon, there was no one else in the place, and I was able to chat with the owner, a very friendly guy.
There are not really any portions that scream out "have me for lunch when you're eating alone", but the owner helped me to select the small ($8.99) order of wings, which he suggested I try with two toppings--soy and garlic, and sweet and hot. After around 15 minutes of chatting the wings were ready--12 wings, six of each type, hot from the fryer, along with a portion of pickled daikon radish.
The wings were fantastic; very moist and succulent meat with crispy not-too-thick batter and great tasting sauce. I had a hard time deciding which of the two sauces I preferred, but if I had to decide, I'd go for the sweet and hot, most likely. But maybe I could go for the soy-garlic instead. They were both really good.
According to the owner, the place is more crowded in the evenings, and I could imagine they'd be GREAT with beer. Definitely worth a try.
Hey I also went there for lunch, got chatted up by the owner and also really enjoyed the chicken.
Funny, since the guy asked me whether I had read about the place in the NYT, and I told him that I had, but I also had read about it on here. I guess you were there after me?
oops I mean to write I was there last week, at around 2. Only people in there and we got a whole chicken for myself and two other hungry people. We left happy and full.
the fried chicken at ufc has definitely been pretty good on my two visits. i think the best korean-style fried chicken in queens is at bon chon on northern blvd, followed closely by ufc. there are a bunch of other korean chicken joints that have opened up fairly recently, including cheogatjip on northern blvd (the sign says in english "my favorite cheo ga jip", but it should actually be pronounced "chuh gaht jeep", based on the korean writing on the sign) and "very well" on 162nd street just south of northern blvd. like bon chon, cheogatjip and very well are korean chains that have recently set up ny outposts.
i've said this before, but the manhattan branch of bon chon is solid, while the fort lee bon chon branch, called boom boom chicken, is the best in the entire region.
went again to the manhattan branch of bon chon last night and was a bit disappointed. besides taking almost an hour for our chicken to arrive (which i can kind of forgive because the food is prepared to order, although it shouldn't take that long), it was drier/less juicy than previoius visits and overly spicy without necessarily being more flavorful. not terrible, but definitely disappointing. even the cubed radish (moo oo) was off - a little too sour, and not as nice and crisp as i'd like. while the radish is not the focus of the meal i was a little bummed out by this as well.
this was pretty similar to my previous experience here. on the first visit things were definitely better, but since then the food has been a little disappointing. not bad, but it hasn't met my expectations.
i guess that's the problem with franchises - even if the recipe is the same at all the branches, in less capable hands it can still be difficult to consistently produce a high quality product.
after having tried all of these different fried chicken places multiple times, i have to say that ufc and the flushing bon chon are definitely better and more consistent than the manhattan bon chon.
Interesting that you mention "boom boom chicken", since I noticed that one of the licenses in UFC today had that as the establishment's name. I wonder if it was initially going to be part of the chain, only later to end up being set up as an independent?