I’m meeting Dave Cook (site) for the first time. This guy knows so many great spots in the city, he’s been thorough responding to questions, he’s connected me with new and interesting people, and he does it with such amazing consistency … I expected someone like Russel Crowe’s character in “A Beautiful Mind.” If you had to ask me whose reviews I trust the most in the city, I have no problem pointing at this guy (we talked about a questionable one but never got to finish the story). He wouldn’t let me take a picture of him to keep his anonymity, but he told me to get a picture of him taking some shots (pic). He likes that shot so much, he wanted to get one of me (pic).
Here’s our experience at Mad For Chicken in a Nutshell:
My friend Karen let me stay in her studio in Grammercy (as opposed to the dry-as-#$%@!, 90-degrees-all-the-time, fifth-floor walkup tenement in Harlem) for eight days while she was away for the Christmas holiday. Of course, I wanted to thank her.
“So what can I get you in appreciation for letting me stay at your place?” I asked.
“Korean Chicken,” she said without hesitation, “at Mad For Chicken.”
Karen took me on a food tour of the lower east side this summer and we went to some pretty cool places, so I respect her suggestions. I was psyched when Mihae and MJ decided to make Mad For Chicken a part of the project.
Dining with the owners of the restaurant is always a special occasion, and there’s no hospitality like Asian hospitality, something I would like to get more accustomed to experiencing firsthand (Travel Channel execs, please click the “me” page for my contact information). They told us about their slashdotting (is there another word for this in the food world? nytting?) by the New York Times – MJ was in the kitchen the day after the word got out and they couldn’t handle the influx. They didn’t even have the Curry Popcorn (top) to tide the customers over. The Twice Fried Chicken (above) wasn’t an overnight success, though – they’d already owned a different franchise and decided to go it alone when the corporate offices went under.
The chef prepared us Fries with Spicy Mayo (pic) and Mexican Corn (pic) as appetizers. The spicy mayo lived up to its name. After a bite of the fries dipped in mayo, the ketchup tasted like someone had sprinkled sugar in it. The Mexican corn was unexpected, but it was done right, and I needed some floss after I ate more than my share of that guy.
It definitely lived up to the hype. The skin was crisp and flaky, the flavor was exactly as I’d I had hoped it to be. The pickled radish in between the different chicken flavors basically replaced your entire palate with a new one; where’d they think of that? The ginger-soy chicken definitely makes one of my top five bites of 93 Plates to this point. This is an absolute must eat when you come to the city
We also had a Sushi Combo Platter (pic); a garden roll, a tempura godzilla roll, and another tempura roll. These were all fantastic, but I was so taken by the chicken, I didn’t think anything else was going be able to garner an equivalent excitement level.
Turns out, the Soju (above) *almost* got there. Fresh mandarin oranges crushed in a Korean sake-like drink – I would have had the entire glass of this stuff if it was professionally acceptable. I had three shots of soju before MJ asked me If I could taste the alcohol. When I stopped to think of that, it was too late.
MJ said it was a great place for a first date.
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Mad For Chicken for providing this meal.
Mad For Chicken
314 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001