Golden Krust

IMG_4835

On the low, some of the best fried chicken spots in New York aren’t fried chicken spots at all. They’re Jamaican spots. Since the focus of this blog so far has been chicken wings served at Chinese joints, we’ve neglected the larger fried chicken trend going on in the city. That may change. But let’s start with the Golden Krust lunch special.

Many people would turn their noses up at the mere mention of Golden Krust — it’s a chain after all. And nearly every Golden Krust franchise I’ve been to suffers from poor lighting along with years of apathy and dust having gathered around the corners like moss. But this one is different. The franchise on Flatbush Avenue opened about a year ago. The “Employee of the Quarter” placard is updated on time. The service is fast enough and cheerful. And the menu turns daily according to a schedule I haven’t quite figured out yet.

A couple days a week the lunch special option includes fried chicken. I get mine with rice-and-peas, and either stew chicken or oxtail gravy on the rice. The chicken goes on top, followed by the cabbage packed into the back of the container. It’s glorious. Something about the chicken resting on top of the gravy gives every third bite a juicy extra kick. The gravy would be distracting if the whole serving was covered in it, but these people know what they’re doing. And the price is right.

During yesterday’s trip to Golden Krust one of the kitchen guys referred to the curried goat dish as mutton as he delivered a tray to the front. A customer asked why he said mutton and not goat. Turning back to the kitchen through the double doors he shouted over his shoulder, “because in Jamaica, everything we say, we say it sexy!” Everyone laughed.

service
crispness
succulence

China Wok

cw-alead

The fries were a little starchy. That was the first clue that something was going to be off. When I first found China Wok on a beautiful fall Sunday, I had unsuccessfully tried three other neighborhood joints. Exotic Roti Express, a favorite Caribbean place was closed, the fish-fry market smelled too fishy, and at the Indian spot next door the guy didn’t even look up from his phone after thirty seconds. It felt like an omen when a brand-new-looking Chinese spot was next door. There was even a fish tank on the counter.

The service was extra polite, too. But, like I said, starchy fries. The wings were crisp but lacked flavor. It was kind of like when a movie has all your favorite actors, but it’s directed by Brett Ratner. In other words, omens are good, but you still gotta deliver that flave.

service
crispness
succulence
fries

Mighty Quinn’s

IMG_4807

The Mighty Quinn’s stand at Berg’N, a beer hall that features a rotating cast of four food stalls, has held down the number four slot for a long time. It’s not the flagship of the Mighty Quinn’s empire, more like an outpost. But once I started ordering from there, I haven’t ordered from anyplace else at Berg’N.

If I weren’t writing a wing blog, I might be writing a barbecue blog. But the facts being what they are, I got an order of wings. Now, there are two competing facts that make this review tough to write. Number 1: the sevice, that day, was attrocious. Number 2: The wings were delicious.

I’ve ordered several times from Mighty Quinn’s and the service was only bad that once. But it was rough. Something like a half hour wait. No communication. And it was clear my order didn’t make it from the register to the kitchen until minute 20 or so. On to the wings.

Sticky, sweet, with the tiniest hint of crunch. Yes, I licked my fingers. The chives and sesame did their evanescent thing, too. Enough to make reaching for a beer feel like a reward for a job well-done. Smoky flavor. The wings were excellent. The fries (I’m sorry, the pommes frites) are served with some kind of newfangled foodie ketchup. Heinz might be better. And while I admire the effort that goes into hand-cut fries, in the end they were a little too salty, too crunchy.

There’s a mixed metaphor going when a place that serves “burnt ends” puts “pommes frites” on the menu. And there’s probably an irony in someone who writes about food in styrofoam containers complaining about service. So we’re not a perfect match, Mighty Quinn’s and me. But I’ve been there before going to write this review. And I’ll go again.

service
crispness
succulence
fries

Lin’s Garden

lins-ext

On the trip to Lin’s Garden I was encouraged by three things — a) there was incredible afternoon light, b) the name is simple yet evocative, and c) the kitchen is very clean. Unfortunately, the food is blah. In writing about some of the lesser joints on this blog, I now see that it will be a challenge to come up with more creative ways of saying, “these wings tasted like cardboard.” So, these wings tasted like the cardboard at the back of a legal pad. Meaning, it feels like an accomplishment to get there, but it’s still just another faded brown piece of paper.

service
crispness
succulence
fries

Chicken McNuggets

nugget-dunk-wide

To be honest with you guys, a shockingly large part of the reason this blog is even published is so that an image of a Chicken McNugget being dunked into a small tub of barbecue sauce could be created. Let’s not mess around with the particulars. At just the right time of night, with just the right amount of liquor in the belly, a 10-pack of these bad boys with fries is just what the doctor ordered. Just don’t do it too often. Or you really will be seeing a doctor.

service
crispness
succulence
fries

J’s Wong

js-wong-cover

Were it not for the pudgy young brothers working behind the counter, their beautiful mom, and stern but affable father, this place would have little to set it apart from the run of the mill. The wings are just that, more crisp than rubbery, but not crisp enough. The fries are good, but not good enough to overcome pedestrian wings. Yet somehow, every time I stand across the counter from that chubby twelve-year-old asking for my order in clipped syllables, the kitchen staff buzzing around in their matching red J’s Wong caps, I can’t help but think about the American Dream. Ordering wings from J’s Wong is an act of hope — that they’re better than the last time. Sometimes they are.

service
crispness
succulence
fries

Double Fried

A photo posted by Ruiyan Xu (@11238) on

When we say #DunkLife, what we mean is stuff like what went down last saturday: making Korean double-fried chicken wings. From scratch. On a Brooklyn rooftop. If you ain’t trying to wade into saveur.com and dig out batter and sauce recipes, then you ain’t built for this. Now we’re not saying we’re the best chicken chefs in the world. Yet. But Hell if we’re not trying.

crispness
succulence

 

Wangs

wangs-08

Black is white. Up is down. This is a food blog about chicken wings at Chinese ‘hood joints in Brooklyn, with occasional forays into other areas.

Wangs is a fried chicken spot, serving whole wings cooked with asian herbs and spices. The food is both in the exact wheelhouse of this blog, and served in the diametric opposite context of the places we cover — yuppie Park Slope with yuppie prices and yuppie ingredients. But we’re not here to judge anything but the food.

The menu is restaurant-quality. The wings are organic. And they’re delicious.

From their website: “combining Southern soul food and east Asian flavor profiles to create a truly unique food experience.” Yup.

I got the wings with hot sauce, collard greens, and cole slaw. Perfection. And compared to any other place on here the service grade would be 10. But as it stands, we only have 5 stars to give.

crispness
succulence
service

No Pork Halal Kitchen

IMG_9813

These joints were not succulent. They actually tasted a little game-y. Which was a surprise since I was hoping that the halal-ness of the wings would also signify some higher taste profile. Instead, they just had a musky taste. Tasted like a crispy shoe shine. Fries were decent. That’s about it. Service was super fast. They had a mic rigged up by the register and the dude said all the orders over a p.a. to the kitchen. And the dude had some dope pics of his trips to Mecca on the wall.

crispness
succulence
fries
service

No. 1 Restaurant

no1resto-close

What drew me into this place was the “A” health rating on the door. And the fact that the sign said, “Chinese Style B.B.Q.” Big mistake. This might be the worst spot I’ve hit in the history of this series. The wings were as rubbery as a toy. The fries were overcooked — tasted like crackers. Next!

crispness
succulence
fries
service