The Philadelphia Inquirer set Craig LaBan and Rick Nichols lose in Koreatown (you know, North Fifth Street beyond Boricua territory) for a two-fer of food goodness this week. Regardless of our differences with LaBan, these pieces are primo. You hear us? Primo.
Nichols penned a guide to dining in Koreatown. Tell us that this doesn’t sound good:
They are on the sidewalk of a strip mall at 67th Avenue and Fifth that houses a health-food kimchi outlet; two Korean barbecues; the “Chinese cuisine bistro” called Dragon; and an inviting Korean-owned but French-accented bakery-coffee shop. Yu Jong owns Cafe Soho around the corner on Cheltenham. And it is here that you get a first taste not only of the most extraordinary chicken wings in town - twice-fried, the second time driving out the fat and leaving the skin as crispy and glazed as a Peking duck’s - but also of the churn that is changing Koreatown’s relentlessly traditional offerings. (Let us be clear before moving on. These wings - ubiquitous in Korea under the names Buffalo Wings and Donkey Wings, and gaining ground in New York - have beaten the Colonel at his own game. They are fresh, not frozen, jumbo wings; breaded with special homemade crumbs; the meat rendered fluffily moist from deep-frying in two 10-minute shifts; then brushed at the end with light sweet-soy or tangy hot sauce. A bowl of pickled radish cubes takes the place of celery. But the pitcher of beer, as likely as not, is domestic American.)
Hell, it makes us hungry. Meanwhile, LaBan just stopped by a newly opened Korean barbecue place in Olney that sounds amazing. Just read it and thank us later.