It’s really THAT good.
It wasn’t that long ago that David Chang posted a photo of a chicken sandwich and the internet flipped the f*ck out in a good way. Who doesn’t like fried chicken on a bun, #AmIRight? I’ll be honest, I’m one of the many who completely lost their shit and wanted to try one and then, in typical Chang fashion, he made us all go bonkers again when he announced the fast food-ish Fuku concept.
Long story short, food writers, bloggers and chicken sandwich fanatics everywhere (probably mostly in NYC) stood in line at the tight Fuku location in the East Village awaiting one of these bad boys. After the initial craze and the opening of another location on W 56thStreet called Fuku +, it became less of a hassle to obtain fried chicken goodness.
I waited a bit. I let the lines die down. I heard about all the craziness at the flagship Fuku location and decided to bypass it altogether. The O.G. spot is only open Wednesday – Sunday and I had plans to grab one on a Monday. Because of this, Fuku wouldn’t work, but Fuku + sure as hell would!
I got into the city around 4:45 p.m. and walked from Grand Central (about a 15 minute trek). By the time I got there, Fuku + was just starting to open and there were only a few chicken sandwich fiends there before I showed up. Shortly after I sat down and got not-so-comfy on the wooden bar stools, Fuku + filled up a bit more, but it wasn’t filled to capacity.
The menu at Fuku + is small, but that’s what it’s supposed to be, I didn’t even really need to look at it because I knew what I was there for. Besides the obvious Mini Me Spicy Chicken Sandwich (the original Fuku has the full size), I had to have something else…the Juicy Lucy, another Chang internet-breaker. If the term isn’t familiar to you, it’s a cheese-stuffed burger.
I did however, check out the drink menu and ordered up the Seven Spice Sour, one of the many cool cocktails they offer. If you’ve never been to any of the Momofuku restaurants, trust this, get a drink. This version of a whiskey sour was served in a frosty glass with crushed ice chips and the drink itself had that sour punch but it had a spicy kick that balanced it out without being fire breathing hot. I was tempted by the Michelada though (salt/spice rimmed can of Tecate, Worcestershire and Ssäm Sauce, lime) and saw many working class folks enjoying one. Next time, for sure.
As I sipped (gulped) away on my drink out came the tray of sandwiches wrapped in foil bags. I tore open the smaller of the two to expose the Mini Me. The part of the chicken used here is the thigh meat, and it did not lack for juiciness. Mine though was mostly white, free of fat and tendons. The “breading” was crispy, seasoned well, and slightly spicy. I liked that Chang kept it Southern style with the obligatory pickles, and the Martin’s Potato Roll is never a bad thing when it comes to any sandwich. On the table you will find ketchup, honey (really great on the sandwich) and Ssäm Sauce which I totally recommend for extra heat.
The Juicy Lucy was next and my god, man, this thing is a calorie buster, but who cares? You’re here to get your grub on. Fuku has salad if you want to be all healthy and stuff, but unless ordered with a sandwich you’re obviously a terrible human being. It is evident from the time you unwrap the Juicy Lucy that it’s filled to the max. It’s two Niman Ranch patties fused together with a molten cheesy center, grilled onions and something that’s very reminiscent of “Special Sauce,” on a Potato Roll. It’s greasy, cheesy, juicy, and you’ll feel bad that you ate it but it falls under the guilty pleasure category. In other words, you will be thrilled to have this cheese-filled meat bust in your mouth.
So I think Fuku is pretty damn awesome and the concept of a dive type place with a small fast foodie menu and solid drinks is a good one. The cool/casual vibe is a definite added attraction. I will have to make it to the East Village location for the full size chicken sandwich and for the fries too. For those of you seeking more, Fuku + is located in a building that also houses Milk Bar and Má Pêche so you’ll have your fill of Momofuku.
Mr. Chang, well done, sir.
15 W 56thStreet
New York, NY 10019
163 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003