Kiki & Lala

My Melody Eats: Bless you, Baden Baden

Posted on: March 31, 2010

Welcome to the first post of our intrepid guest blogger, My Melody! Join her as she chows her way through the Big Apple and beyond.

Nothing says “Girls’ Night Out” like martinis, dimly-lit lounges, and flirtatious banter with handsome strangers. But when it comes to me and my girl friend S., our definition of a great night out usually involves a platter of fried chicken.

Before...

I recently became a huge fan of Korean-style fried chicken, made popular in New York by Bon Chon, Mad for Chicken, and Unidentified Flying Chicken (which also wins the Best Restaurant Name Ever award). If you’ve never had chicken cooked like this before, you need to finish reading this post and run to your nearest Korean fried chicken joint. Why? Because it’s crispy, savory, juicy, and piquant all at the same time, and you can eat an entire bucket of the stuff without feeling greased-out. (I’ll admit: I know this from personal experience.) In other words, it’s like crack in chicken form. I don’t exactly know how they do it, but what they do on a daily basis is truly a service to mankind.

But there’s another kind of Korean chicken that occasionally gets some press, and it’s served at a restaurant called Baden Baden, located within spitting distance from Mad for Chicken in Koreatown. Their website states that they specialize in ‘Tong-Dak,’ which translates to rotisserie-fried chicken. And while I’ve walked by Baden Baden many times in the past, I’ve never ventured inside. Clearly, it was time to do some reconnaissance work.

First impressions: After spending a little effort locating our destination (it’s on the second floor), S. and I walk into a place that looks more like a college dive bar than a stereotypical Korean restaurant. But we quickly spotted–and smelled–a server walking past with a tray of fried food, which confirmed that we were in the right place.

...and after.

I had read beforehand that the only thing really worth trying was the chicken, so that’s what we ordered: a whole chicken, with the requisite side of fries and onion rings. (We ignored the look of shock on our server’s face.) The platter arrived soon after, overflowing with golden brown things that smelled like heaven, if heaven was a hot vat of grease.

Our initial thought: this was very different from the chicken we’ve had at Mad for Chicken; like the website stated, we were literally having rotisserie chicken that had a crispy-fried skin. There was also no glaze on this chicken, which I actually liked; the flavor of the chicken really came through, and even reminded me of the fried chicken I used to have as a child in Manila. The only thing missing? Big bowls of fluffy rice! I’m still not sure why Korean chicken joints don’t offer rice as a side order. Wouldn’t it be great if they provided little balls of rice wrapped in wax paper, just like they do in Jollibee?

Clearly, the chicken was a huge hit at our table, since the plate was taken away (empty) about 25 minutes after it arrived. Mad for Chicken still has the number one spot in my book, but I’ll definitely be heading back to Baden Baden for another round of Tong-Dak.

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2 Responses to "My Melody Eats: Bless you, Baden Baden"

Bravo, My Melody! Welcome to to Kiki and Lala Land. I must say this is a very thorough review of the city’s best chicken. I happen to work by K-town so it looks like Baden Baden will be a place to visit in the near future.

Thanks for the post and please keep em coming!

didn’t realize friend chicken was a korean thing…
looks really satisfying.
thanks, melody!

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