Posts Tagged ‘korean’

#1 – Eat at Wings Around the World, Crisp, and Great Seas Chinese Restaurant


And thus the Holy Trinity of chicken wings was complete. What happens when you turn the two parts of the wing into one giant meaty lollipop and double fry it for extra crispiness and dip it into General Tso’s Chicken sauce?

After dodging growling panhandlers on the deep south side at Wings Around the World and watching ice cream workers get hazed post-wings after Crisp it was time to make my inaugural appearance at Great Seas Chinese Restaurant. Great Seas is in the heart of Albany Park off the end of the Kimball Brown Line CTA (yes, I am the mayor!). My foodies friends have always recommended Great Seas, but sometimes you just can’t go by yourself. That’s what friends are for and I had eleven fellow guinea pigs to come along for the wild adventure!

Trying to be a conscientious host, I called a week in advance to make reservations for ten. The manager told me that they don’t normally take reservations for the weekend, but made an exception and took down my info. Showing up on time for a big lunch usually means that people will have to wait, so I made sure to get to the Great Seas twenty minutes early and came just in time to see a party of ten clear out. After this, the servers came in like NASCAR disposing of the evidence and setting up anew and I sat myself down once they were done.

In came the Yelpers and the party was ready to begin. My first instinct was to go try to house 2 orders of wings on my own but discretion proved the better part of honor as our resident Yelp CM took over ordering responsibilities and picked 4 chicken wing orders, 1 order of spicy cuttle fish, 2 orders of crab rangoon, 1 black noodle, and one giant order of egg drop soup to get the party started!

The servers summoned tea, dropped down a pitcher of water and the lazy susan was spinning round and round like a carousel in no time. There was room and I didn’t hit elbows with anyone or struggle for room. I even had enough room to keep my backpack under the table. There were families and people on dates and one old lady with a fuzzy hat chowing down. Finally our food ARRIVED!

****Spicy Cuttlefish****
Hoooo eeeeeeeeeee! This thing was laced with fireballs and plenty of specks of pepper galore marked its path. To play with this cuttlefish was to dance a dance of death as taste buds died from the oppressive heat of the cuttlefish. Mixed with rice, the spiciness subsided and made for good eating as the texture of the cuttlefish was delightful to the tongue and there were plenty of veggies for the health nuts in the party.

****Egg Drop Soup****
While others in the group commented that it wasn’t too salty, I prefer my soups very salty and very hot! The soup was warm but I ended up eating the heck out of my soup quickly since it wasn’t hot and piping when it arrived. Good texture of egg and the soup was very yellow. I prefer the whites a little more hardened in my egg drop but the soup was good enough to feed the dozen of us at the table!

****Crab Rangoon****
Underwhelming, I’d have to say. While high on the crisp factor (just the way I like it), the stuffing was a bit too dense and not spread out enough. Also the stuffing had only the oil flavor and lacked any special oomph that I have marked in other crab rangoon. Still decent, but lacks the great nomnomnom factor that leaves you grabbing the next piece without fear of engulfing the whole thing.

****Black Noodle****
I had heard from many that this was a go-to sort of dish. Down came black noodle and it looked like a giant pile of goo. Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when Lieutenant Yar get pwned by the black tar goo? That’s completely what this black noodle looked like! The server let us know that we had to mash it up before it all stuck together which threw me off, but once she mixed it up for us, the black noodle looked like chow mein noodles with the black sauce which was absorbed rendering the noodle brown. Delicious with smooth texture it was a comfy snack to have on our way to the main event.

****Hot n’ Spicy Chicken Wings****
Like Michael’s Jackson’s last stand: This is IT!
Welcome to Great Seas Chinese Restaurant 101, these are the bestest chicken wings on all of the north side. Challenge and appeal all you’d like but all applications would be red stamped DENIED in the face of these beasts.

I was not only owned, but I was pwned! It was hot out the kitchen, it was c-r-i-s-p and begging to be eaten again and again and again. There’s nothing like watching four plates of chicken wings vanish into nothingness and having to call in reinforcements. I don’t know how they manufacture this special lollipopped chicken wing, but they had ALL of the meat all on one piece of bone! Imagine a perfect world: chicken wing meat on the bone without having to bite and chew around crazed edges and ripping off pieces to get more meat. What you saw was what you got and all of the wing was there.

In the end it cost of all of $12 apiece between 12 people! GO NOW!

#1 – Eat at Wings Around the World, Crisp, and Great Seas Chinese Restaurant


There are always thousands of Yelp reviews to dig through from all of the different places my friends have gone ranging from the mundane, such as 7-Eleven or Starbucks to the divine, such as Crisp, Zed451, or Wings Around the World.  The first trek of my wing odyssey took me to 75th and King Drive out in the middle of the deep south side to Wings Around the World, where I had the pleasure to take a bite of Sweet Plum BBQ, Cheesy Buffalo, and Honey Teriyaki wings.  Rounding up the weekly lunch crew, we decided last week on swarming at Crisp to let them show us what they had. It was going to be an interesting experiment to say the least, as none of us had ever stepped foot into Crisp.

Renowned for their Korean style fusion wings, my wing radar always detected good wings were in the neighborhood with every step in Boystown. Every time getting off the Belmont CTA stop, I lamented that I was so close yet so far. Parking around Crisp was a cinch at 2:30pm this Wednesday afternoon. We entered Crisp to find one other person outside of our group already waiting for wings and ample space all around to sit where we pleased.

Approaching the counter, there stood an impressive display of all the various sodas all for the price of $1 with Vitamin Water for $2 including fan favorites such as Coke Zero, A&W Root Beer. Alongside the pop cans were the various house bowls featuring Bulgolgi and Bi Bim Bap combinations with the Bi Bim Bap serving as the main vegetarian fare for any potential non-meating-eating friends. Without any vegetarians on hand, it was clear that we’d all dive into chicken seventh heaven from wings to fully glazed fried chickens to chunks of chicken in bi bim bap bowls.

Knowing that I would be getting a full order of 10 wings, I was surprised when they told me that they had more than one flavor for the wings. For some reason I thought Crisp relied only on the Korean sweet and sour recipe but saw they had BBQ and several kinds of Buffalo Sauce. I’ve had BBQ and Buffalo sauces from all over the place, so I decided to stick with the basics and go with the Seoul Sassy flavors and an order of fries. A can of Coke Zero accompanied my order, which is always a bonus because Coke Zero definitely doesn’t taste like Diet Coke.

My friends all ordered in lockstep various dishes and everyone had some wings on the way. I noticed the business card on crisp declared their head chef the house master of wings. Was it true? Could these wings be as magical as Wings Around the World? We sat down at one of the large tables and awaited our orders.

As my basket of wings and fries was the first dish ready, I had the uncomfortable ordeal of waiting for everyone’s else’s food to arrive. I could no longer adhere to the rules of conduct of good manners and picked off a few fries while waiting since it was pushing 3 o’clock and I hadn’t had a bite to eat all day! I saw some bowls of Bi Bim Bap materialize, a half of a fried chicken dropped in, and another full order of Crisp wings and then realized it was time to go to down!

As with most wing eating experiences, this one was no different, the obligatory wing exchange was facilitated and I traded in one of my Sweet Sassies for a Crisp BBQ-flavored wing. All of the wings were properly fried hard and I found the texture of the wings both majestic and comforting. The Crisp BBQ flavor was less than impressive, with a clumsy taste akin to kim chee. There was heat on thse wings, but there was not enough sweetness, but I didn’t mind trying one for the sake of trying.

After the exchange ritual, I happily dug into my own set of Seoul Sassy and got the rush of flavor that I expected. Sweet and tangy with a subtle hint of spice, the magic combination dazzled my taste buds and even the little pieces of green onion served to heighten the experience. There is something to be said about Korean wing recipes, and there’s no better food experience than tasting a recipe that tries to balance out the different taste sensations and savoring sweet success with every single bite.  The portions were massive and I found myself full after eating about five full-sized wings while another friend threw in the wet nap after four wings. In retrospect, taking pictures of all of the food before we all demolished all of it proved to be fortuitous timing.

In the end, we had way too much food for our own good and thus went our indoctrination into the wonderful world of Crisp. It was a pleasant experience to say the least, not having fight off crowds and being able to enjoy a meal with friends without having to feel like the walls were caving in. Were Crisp wings better than Wings Around the World? It’s a Tale of Two Wings and I don’t think that’s a fair comparison as they’re entirely different beasts. Are mashed potatoes better than french fries or roasted potatoes? The world may never know, but it’s best to try it all before it runs out!