For years, decades even, chicken was a menu also-ran. Sure, there was the occasional perfect roast chicken (see LoHi Steak Bar) but now, finally, the bird is getting its due.
Perhaps it was the rise of chicken and waffles (have you tried Euclid Hall's version from James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski?) that brought the white meat back into the collective consciousness. Whatever it was, I'm thankful because the rising trend means that good fried chicken with a golden crust and tender meat is more readily available.
At ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro, chef Lon Symensma's Korean hot fried chicken sandwich (pictured) is an explosion of flavor and texture brought on by rich thigh meat, Korean chile powder, and vodka.
The chicken begins with a traditional soak in buttermilk prior to a dry dredge in flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. The meat then receives a wet dredge mixed with vodka (the spirit evaporates quickly at high heat, leaving behind excellent crispness) before landing in the fryer. Blistered and hot, the thighs are quickly tossed in a spice mix of Korean chile powder, salt, and sugar.
The chicken is then sandwiched on a soft, house-made brioche bun (split in half and toasted with chicken fat), and topped with gochujang aïoli, pickled red onions and cucumbers, and shredded Bibb lettuce.
Do as I did and share the dish. This gives you just enough of the sandwich's crunchy, sugary, salty, richness but not enough to leave you ready for a nap.
1555 Blake St., 303-353-5223
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