|Fried chicken at Bon Chon|
This is Korean fried chicken -- a real variation on even the great bird you can buy at Chick n' Friends. Moist meat with a thin crust. Crunchy, even after it's been coated in a salty or spicy sauce. This is a treat -- or a diet cheat -- worth checking out. Henry Hong nailed the description a few years ago, and I quote rather than plagiarize:
Its product is pretty typical, with an aroma that slaps you in the face with garlic (definitely powder and fresh, in my opinion); a glaze that possesses a pretty straightforward combo of salty, sweet, and in the case of the “spicy,” a fast-acting, mouth-filling heat; and an exterior that although is often described as “shatteringly crispy” is more accurately somewhere between crispy and crunchy, with just a tiny hint of chew. The meat itself is unseasoned, but extremely moist, protected from drying by its cornstarch cocoon.
The bottom line is that you need to go try this chicken now. Don't wait for the "grand opening" in a few weeks. We already had the Korean fried chicken at Tian Chinese Cuisine, which does great chicken and offers black bean noodles and other dishes. Those house-made noodles pair beautifully with Tian's crunchy chicken. But Bon Chon really kicks it up.
Bon Chon's chicken comes in spicy or a soy-garlic. Order radishes and maybe white rice. You'll get a bowl of pickled white radish cubes. Pop one after a spicy bite. The crunchy vegetable cools your mouth. We ordered wings and "strips" -- which are thin slices of white meat. Those are my favorite ratios of meat to crunch.
Bon Chon is a Korean chain with franchises in near New York, Boston and the Virginia suburbs. Reading around the Web suggests some variation between locations. On Yelp, Edward suggested the sauce was spicier and the servings were smaller than the Chantilly location. We ordered two small orders, and we left stuffed.
The restaurant has a modern, clean design. Most tables, some high tops, some seats at the bar. At even the first dinner service, it was bouncing with a 20s crowd -- salted with a few tables of salt-and-pepper hair. It's a casual vibe. Noisy enough that kids are clearly welcome, and Bon Chon an enormous projector that will make this a spectacular spot for wings and Ravens games when fall Sundays come around.
On top of the chicken, they have a small menu of Korean dishes. You could alternative chicken with bulgogi, bibimbob, or scallion-seafood pancakes. We gorged on chicken on the first visit, so w can't report. Expect an official grand opening in a few weeks. But they're serving the full menu now so nothing should hold you back.
Do any Bon Chon regulars know if is it possible to get a middle sauce? I loved both the spicy and the soy-garlic, but the hot was just too hot for Mrs. HowChow. She likes the salty soy. But she'd love a spicy option too.
3419 Plum Tree Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
NEAR: Bon Chon is a block south of Rte 40 and just west of Rte 29. Turn south onto Plum Tree Drive, and Bon Chon is in a shopping center perpendicular to Plum Tree. It is next to Serafino's.