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Jun 6, 2008 06:57 PM

Bon Chon Chicken - downhill alert?

Just came back from Bon Chon chicken tonight. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. Not sure if things have gone downhill or if it was an off-night but even though I waited for over 20 minutes for my chicken, it was only lukewarm. The spicy ones were not very spicy either. We also got an order of the rosemary fries which were good but also served lukewarm. Place was pretty loud and busy on a Friday night. It seems that they've expanded their menu and are serving things like sushi rolls, scallion pancakes and dduk boki (mochi cakes in a spicy sauce) -- have the option to get it with or without mozzarella cheese. Service was pretty nonexistant -- nobody ever came to check up on us aside from dropping our food off, never got a refill of water and it took DH quite some time to flag a waiter down to get more beer.

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  1. Please , Please , Miss Needle, say it's not so................ I am still trying to replicate the wings at home , To no avail, I might add. Keep us posted.

    14 Replies
    1. re: currymouth

      Currymouth, I don't make it a habit of eating fried chicken too often. So it will probably be some time before I go back. I'm hoping that those who have eaten there recently can report back. I'm hoping it's a fluke. There really is such a discernable difference from last year.

      I'm thinking that the wings were probably originally marinated in soy, garlic, sugar, rice wine, then coated with perhaps a flour/cornstarch mixture and served with a sauce of gochugaru, soy, garlic, malt syrup and gochujang (for the spicy one).

      You must have some decent Korean fried chicken places in Northern NJ.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        Not a one. Miss Needle. My niece turned me on to Bon Chon chicken on 5th Ave several months ago after she had it in LA. Noise level was a bit high for my elderly ears but the wings were great. But no rice on the menu. What gives?

        1. re: currymouth

          Well, we were definitely the oldest people there -- and I agree about the music level. Agh -- just 10 years ago, I was coming home 7-8 AM on weekends from my nights out. Now, I'm turning into an old fogie. I turn into a pumpkin at midnight!

          I did a search and found this on Jason Perlow's blog. Apparently there are a couple of Korean fried chicken joints in NJ. Maybe that can tide you over until you perfect your recipe.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Thank you so much, Miss Needle. Now warm up some milk, kiss the cat, and fall asleep to reruns of Matlock. There's a good girl. Kidding, you know I'm just kidding. Thanks again

          2. re: currymouth

            Not sure where you are, but there's a Korean Fried Chicken place on Lemoine, in Ft. Lee, across the St. from Enterprise Rent A Car. I only have passed by while riding the bus to and home from work. Have no clue if it is any good. If you do go, please report back. Thanks!
            p.s. after posting I just read Miss Needles link - it has all the info you need!

        2. re: currymouth

          Having never been to Bon Chon, I have no idea how they do their chicken, but from Miss Needle's description maybe you can try this recipe:

          It can be used with any cut/piece of chicken.
          There is also a sesame version if you are interested.

          1. re: hannaone

            Looks and sounds great, I will try it on Sunday, Have guests coming over. Thanks hannaone

            1. re: hannaone

              Thanks again for the recipe, Tried it yesterday, I did double up on the garlic and ginger,There was young ginger at the Asian grocery and I like to make home made pickled ginger when availible, and also added a couple squeezes of sriracha. Hope you don't mind, It was a big hit and went well with a Thai tofu salad recipe I picked up from the Times several years ago.Michele Cindy, I don't get up there very much anymore but it's worth it to do some food shopping at Mitsuwa, and then check out the chicken joint, I'll will report back. The quest continues.

              1. re: currymouth

                Glad you liked it.
                Korean recipes are all about "making them your own" so any changes/additions that work well are definitely ok.
                And sriracha is a universal condiment that works with just about anything.

                1. re: hannaone

                  In passing, Do you have a simple, tasty recipe for oyster/ scallion pancake. I have tried it several times and is lucky enough to have a Korean grocery near by, For what ever reason, I can't seem to get the same results as my favorite places.What am I doing wrong?

                  1. re: currymouth

                    I'm sure hannone's got a recipe there somewhere and will have something to give you.

                    Are you using a 100% flour recipe? A lot of restaurants use rice flour and wheat flour. That's where the crispy - chewiness comes from. The rice flour makes a huge difference in texture, IMHO.

                      1. re: hannaone

                        Off next weekend and looking forward to trying it. Thanks.

            2. Haven't been in six months to a year, but the 20-minute-plus wait and the expanded menu were part of the deal then, too. I usually order carryout and wait at the bar over a drink, so lukewarmth hasn't been a factor.

              But the spicy was always spicy enough and service surprisingly good, even when it was crazy busy, so maybe there has been some slippage.

              1 Reply
              1. re: squid kun

                I was really surprised that it was lukewarm because I waited 20 minutes. I would have expected that it would have been made to order. Apparently not. And the spice level was definitely low -- not anywhere near what it's usually at. And this was indeed the worst service I've ever received. I don't think it has anything to do with it being crowded or being understaffed because I saw quite a few of them just standing around doing nothing.

              2. ya service is always bad there, not sure what would prompt good service unless you ordered a bottle of johnny or something. but koreans and their cheese, it's pretty funny to see american cheese in some kimbop. but really, the best add-on when making fried rice at home is small cubes of swiss or muenster; it gets melt-y but the parts of the cheese which come into contact w/ the pan and form a nice crust, yum! that is my absolute secret add-on to fried rice. try it ya'll!

                1. Went to Bon Chon for the first time last night. Having read this downhill alert, I was wary. But I’d wanted to try it for a long time, so I just prepared myself for service problems. There were none. At All.

                  My friend and I arrived at 6:35 and were seated immediately. We were still perusing the liquor menu, laughing at how much the drink offerings were a reflection of the age of the crowd, when the waitress brought water. We asked her a couple of questions and, thinking we’d have a long wait for food, decided to order right away. Our large soju arrived almost immediately and the rosemary fries not long thereafter. The roof of my mouth still has a tender spot where I burned it eating the first fry. They were so hot, we had to wait a bit for them to cool down. Less than five minutes later, the chicken arrived. Also hot, although it did cool down rather quickly. Didn’t matter. It was still crunchy and delicious and just about the best fried chicken I’d ever had. My friend likes spicy food, but not as spicy as I. He had a couple of pieces of the spicy chicken but said it was really too hot for him. So he concentrated on the soy/garlic and I had most of the spicy chicken to myself. At some point the waitress came and replaced the bone bucket. There was always someone hovering by the door, checking to see that no one in our room needed anything. A raised finger would summon someone to the table right away.

                  My friend asked for the check while they were clearing the plates, still thinking it might take a while to get it. It came almost too quickly. My friend decided he really wasn’t ready to leave yet and ordered another soju. We just sat and drank and talked and a waiter and waitress kept bringing us amuses and bar noshes. By the time we were ready to leave, probably three hours later, the revised check was at our table as soon as we asked for it.

                  The food was great. The service couldn’t have been better. Did we just get lucky? If so, I sure hope we stay lucky. Maybe 6:30 is a good time to get there?

                  By the way, what was the dish that seemed to be on every table but ours? The woman next to me said it was rice cakes. Is that the dduk boki you mentioned?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: JoanN

                    I would say that is rare or they revamped their operations which seems unlikely.
                    I have been there with Koreans and non, and everything has taken quite awhile, every time.
                    Lucky you and maybe that is their new standard operating procedure.
                    That spicy version can be very hot, even for spice nuts.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      "By the way, what was the dish that seemed to be on every table but ours? The woman next to me said it was rice cakes. Is that the dduk boki you mentioned?"

                      They certainly sound like ddok boki, especially if it was covered in a spicy looking red sauce. But I don't remember that dish being especially prevalent on the tables. I'm trying to remember if they gave out some simple banchan with our wings, and that perhaps you didn't receive it.

                      ETA: Reading bigjeff's post below, perhaps you're talking about those yellow daikon pickles (dack-kwang).

                        1. re: thew

                          I know a lot of people like dduk boki -- just not my thing. But mochi is generally not high on my list either. But I'll try to make it a point of trying it one day. Thanks.

                    2. All korean fried chicken places that I have been to takes about 20 minutes for the chicken to arrive.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: williamsonoma

                        Yes, I'm aware of the 20 minutes. It's because they generally fry your batch to order. The reason why I stated that I waited so long was that my batch was old, in spite of the fact that I had to wait.