Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rate-A-Restaurant #197: Kyo-chon

(Photo by My Restaurant Tips.)

Restaurant: Kyochon

Location: 3833 W 6th St (Koreatown)

Type of restaurant: Korean Fried Chicken

We stipulated: Maria had been craving chicken, and suggested we stop by a favorite of ours -- Koreatown's BonChon Chicken. I suggested that we try BonChon's biggest rival, the fellow Korean Fried Chicken chain Kyochon, to finally compare and contrast the two.

They stipulated: Like BonChon, Kyochon offers up the fried chicken in two varieties: Garlic soy sauce or hot sauce. Again, like BonChon, Kyochon offers its chicken as either wings or "sticks" (in other words, chicken legs). Kyochon also offers healthier grilled chicken wings (something BonChon doesn't).

What we ordered: Combo A: Wings 8 pcs, chicken bulgogi with rice and a soda, $14.99. Also, a 4 pc order of "sticks" (chicken legs), $7.99.

High point: The Kyochon menu is much larger than BonChon's, and the waiter was helpful in directing us to the combo, which made more sense for the both of us. (Not sure we ultimately needed the chicken legs as well -- it was hard to guess how much we needed -- and not sure if they mistakenly gave us 6 sticks instead of 4, or if that's actually the norm.) The food was also served much faster than at BonChon.

Low point: The huge menu, nonetheless, was difficult to figure out. Also, Kyochon doesn't sell beer -- something that actually goes pretty well with the spicy wings -- while BonChon does. And I was a little bummed to hear regular English-language pop music on the radio, and ESPN on the TV. BonChon offers up K-Pop music videos, which add to the Korean Fried Chicken experience.

Overall impression: Just like BonChon, Kyochon attempts to sell you on the health benefits... of fried chicken. Really. Their slogan: "Healthy food for ecstatic body and soul." As much as I liked the chicken bulgogi, and we appreciated the better service, the taste just isn't quite there. I'm not sure which came first in Korea (I believe Kyochon did), but I do know that we enjoyed the taste of BonChon quite a bit more.

Chance we'll go back: Sorry, Kyochon, but now that we've tried both Korean Fried Chicken chains... we'll be sticking with BonChon.

For a complete list of our more than 190 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.

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