The bird is the word! declares the awning of Crisp, your new go-to place for Korean fried chicken.
There are a lot of really great restaurants near/on Belmont Avenue in Chicago, including Blackwood BBQ (review coming soon), Kuma’s Corner, BIG & little’s and even bopNgrill. One of the most memorable meals I’ve had near Belmont, however, was the Korean fried chicken from Crisp.
Only a 10-minute walk from the Belmont Red Line stop, Crisp is ideal for Korean fusion, whether that’s the Korean-Southern fried chicken I had or one of their Korean-Mexican burritos, which all sound daaaank.
On a Sunday afternoon, Maddy, Jeremy and I were having trouble finding seats, but the employees were genuine and courteous about helping us find somewhere to sit. They even gave me a free carton of sauce at the end of the meal, when I went back up to the counter to inquire about their miraculous Seoul Sassy sauce (more on that later).
I used the sauce to marinate my own chicken and sort of recreate the meal at home, and it gave me a lot of inspiration for flavor profiles and balances for the rest of my sophomore year.
Anyways…moving on. Whoever was on aux that day was doing it right. The music was right up my alley – ODESZA, Alina Baraz, Jai Paul and Hermitude…and while the restaurant only seats about 20-25 people, the bright green walls and hanging mirrors create more visual space.
Maddy, Jeremy and I split a $16 whole Korean fried chicken, sitting in silence as we ravenously ate our meal. The whole bird was cleaved into pieces small enough to handle without me looking like a complete savage, piled on top of each other in a plastic basket. The chicken was fried to near perfection, gloriously crispy and well-coated in the Seoul Sassy sauce, made with the perfect balance of soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
ASIDE: People seem to have mixed opinions about Crisp, comparing the restaurant’s fried chicken to that of Dak, which I reviewed a few months ago. I’ve had both, and here’s my verdict:
Dak wins over Crisp for the texture and consistency of the fried chicken. Crisp’s has repeatedly been a bit overcooked, resulting in a drier food product. However, Crisp is still absolutely worth going to because that Seoul Sassy sauce is BOMB. The flavor is 100% there, the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Whatever coating you order with your fried chicken – Seoul Sassy, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, or the ‘Plain Jane’ – it will pair really well with the sauces Crisp has squeeze-bottled on tables: gochujang (Korean fermented chili condiment), ketchup, sriracha or Allison’s ‘atomic sauce’.
At $16 for a whole chicken for three, the price of our ‘meal’ definitely justified the trip. We also got a basket of fries, which cost ~$5. In total, we ended up paying $7-8 for an immensely satisfying feast.
Next time, I’ll have to see how their Korean burritos live up to the lit menu description.
I’d also love to try Marty’s magic mushrooms or maybe one of the Buddha Bowls, a vegetarian and Americanized bibimbap entree, which comes with your choice of veggies, rice and a fried egg.
Bottom line: If you’re tired of traditional fried chicken, hit up Crisp for something offbeat but delicious. You could easily work with a budget of less than $10, but the sky is also the limit at a place like this.
2940 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657