Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
When I was invited to Hell's Chicken last Monday, I was pretty happy to get another opportunity to go to that place, having visited it with my friend Benny few months ago as we were looking for a fried chicken place (see the post about my first visit at Hell's Chicken). This time, I went with another friend, Abe, who is also a huge fan of the fried bird and was as excited as I was to go there. We went for dinner and met with the owner, Sung Jin Min who opened this restaurant in the Spring of 2013.
Know that Hell's Chicken is not just serving dishes with chicken: they serve classic Korean dishes, such as bulgogi or bibimbap, but fried chicken is their main specialty and they make it in a way that is different from any other places. Yes, they serve gluten free fried chicken, where the wheat flour has been replaced by rice flour and the soy bean oil by canola oil.
We let Sung decide what dishes we would eat and I was glad that he proposed ones that I did not try the last time, besides the fried chicken of course. We started off with some appetizers. The first one was the Pa Jeon with seafood (there was squid that I love). Pa Jeon is a Korean style scallion pancake; each time I had one, it was less crunchy or greasy than its Chinese counterpart. I liked it: it was comforting with a nice amount of seafood.
The second appetizer was the Dubu Kimchi salad that is made with crushed tofu mixed with sesame seeds, crown daisy (chrysanthemum greens), scallion, onions and white kimchi. Tofu is not really an ingredient I would go for at first, but I thought it was delicious, light with tons of flavors coming from the crown daisy and kimchi that was not spicy at all. Would I order such dish? Probably not, but I recommend it if you are vegetarian or want a healthy dish, that is rarely what I go for...
Then came the fried chicken. We went for the mild Hell's sauce that is their house recipe made with a caramelized tomato base. The chicken, after being dipped in the rice batter is deep fried twice and then brushed with that amazing sauce (I forgot my good manners and licked my fingers more than once...). The chicken was moist and a bit crispy, smothered in that delicious sauce that had a nice sweetness. We also tried their spicy version that literally set my mouth on fire. Fortunately, the pickled radish was a good way to cleanse my palate.
Then, we tried their Yookhwe bibimbap, this piping hot rice dish that is perfect for a cold weather.
This one was made with mixed vegetables, and a beef tartar (so, like any beef tartar, it had a raw egg on top). We mixed all the ingredients together; the pot being very hot, the raw beef and egg cooked quickly and it created a delightful crust with the rice that is one of the best parts of the dish. I loved it because of that, but also because it was flavorful, the ratio vegetables / rice being well balanced. I should also mention the presentation with the different colors that was very beautiful.
The last dish was the Bulgogi Gui. So, unlike lots of Korean restaurants, they cook the marinated slices of beef in the kitchen and not on the grill in the center of the table. The dish came with banchan, these little side dishes that you usually get at the beginning of your meal.
It included: kimchi (that was deliciously spicy), soy beans and some very spicy peppers. It was also served with a scallion salad that I did not really care about, focusing mainly on the tender pieces of meat that was very flavorful.
To accompany our meal, we decided to try a sampler of flavored soju. I have never see it flavored and was curious to see what it was like. The three flavors were, from right to left (well, looking at the photo, you cannot make the difference for sure...): yuzu, blueberry and pomegranate. My favorite was the yuzu one that I found very refreshing and that had a more natural taste, the other two tasting a bit like medicine...I thought it was a great idea to propose a sampler and wish more restaurants would do so. If you do not like soju, know that they have also wine or beer (the later Korean or not).
So, definitely we had a good meal at Hell's Chicken. I should say another good meal. It is a nice place, located in an area that could be challenging for a restaurant, the foot traffic being low, but slowly developing. Often, chicken places offer limited choices for people who do not like chicken or are vegetarian and I think it is great that Hell's Chicken does not solely focus on that. Would I go back? Definitely!
Enjoy (I did)!
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