Eat & DrinkNew York

Mad for Chicken: Koreatown Gets it Right

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Hot wings may have gotten their claim to fame in Buffalo, but upstate New York pales in comparison to the Korean fry masters at Mad for Chicken. Having gone to a state school, I’ve eaten my share of fried chicken wings. I also grew up in what was voted multiple times, the fattest city in American. Lucky for me, I moved away and have kept my chicken wing intake to a minimum.  Besides being known as the karaoke capital of New York, Koreatown has as far as I’m concerned, cornered the market on chicken wings.

It all started when star chef of the moment,  David Chang of Momofuku, did a video online of going to his favorite wing place, Mad for Chicken.  I saw bubbling beer towers, piles of wings, and a shady stairway entrance, and I knew where my mecca was. The whole block features a whole slew of wing places all with their own cult followings.  But I decided to pace myself.  After you locate what looks to be an apartment building entrance, a series of stairs takes you to their lounge area, which looks more appropriate for swilling down martinis than eating mass quantities of wings.  While you do have to deal with Top 40 hits blasting from the speakers, the lighting is low and atmosphere casual. The menu doesn’t pussy foot around with a lot of side options. You can choose from wings or drumsticks with two different types of sauce: soy garlic or spicy. The wings are perfectly crispy and the sauce is more of a strong taste than a sloppy coating. Each portion is served with pickled daikon, which is a type of radish, to counteract the spiciness of the wings.

To wash it all down, you can also order the “mad for beer” which is a giant tower of Killian’s Red beer served in a space-age looking cooling chamber. I would’ve  never thought Irish beer would be an ideal pairing for Korean fried food, but then again I never thought Chinese people could open up taco places either. Needless to say, the wings went fast and before I knew it, my date and I ordered a second helping which was met with an interesting look from our trim waitress. I’d would go back to this place in a heartbeat, and it’s a great place for large parties considering the daunting task of two people finishing a tower of beer. The night was then followed by an impulse trip to the movies to see Wolfman. The movie left a horrible taste in my mouth but the wings were just right.

Mad for Chicken
314 5th Ave
At E 32nd St [Koreatown]

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Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).