Dave Chang’s noodlehouse Momofuku is an NYC institution, so when he opened this fried chicken sandwich eaterie almost next door to his East Village restaurant, he really brought in the crowds. In the same month that Shake Shack unleashed their own bird-in-a-bun, Fuku – with only three items on the menu, standing room only, and initial limited opening hours – caused a stir. There’s no bathroom here, so when you pay $8 for a chicken-thigh crisply fried and placed in a bun far too small for it, that’s all you get – the food. Oh, but WHAT a sandwich; I could’ve done without the pickles, but the off-menu daikon-radish slaw is what I’ll ask for in the future. The taste of the chicken is spicy, like mild scotch bonnet, but without any lingering heat, and completely devoid of artificial chilli flavours (so I added some Korean hot sauce, of course). And that’s what’s really bringing the punters in, to the extent that the queuing time can be up to 45 minutes, though the buzz has definitely died down by now. The drinks list is actually much longer than the food choices – Tecate beer, Micheladas, whiskey & ginger, G&T, Margaritas etc. There’s also a water tap with some plastic cups. The other items on the menu are steak fries (which are supposed to be very disappointing) and a farro salad with orange dressing, which I’d love to try next time.
Subway: 1st Ave
(NOW CLOSED DOWN)
This spacious corner restaurant with outdoor seating in Bushwick may be open until 4am, but they’ll need to increase their portion size if they’re keen to attract loyalty in their first month of business. The fluke ceviche ($12) was fantastically zesty and really had so much bite, but was about a third of the size it was expected to be, and sloppily served in a shallow steel bowl. The swordfish skewers ($10) were tasty, and not so tiny, but the crab causa was far too firm and just not mushy enough, even though the pulled crab meat was great and the purple hue of the potatoes authentic. Service is swift and helpful, though not overly warm and cheery, and decor and fittings are impressive, as are the seating options inside. Lorenzo’s kitchen definitely knows what it’s doing, but just needs to offer more of it on the plate.
Subway: Jefferson St. (L)
Superlative Neapolitan-style pizza at slightly higher prices than your average. Fire roasted peppers with burrata ($12) are soaked in olive oil but served in small portions, just like the other starters such as the white beans and pesto. Fior di latte is on every pizza, and though the
sopressata picante ($15) is good, the cremini and fennel sausage pizza ($17) is even better. There’s a range of draft and bottled beers, cocktails and wines, and service is just average. The decor and lighting is very intimate – even romantic -though, and this definitely is a special spot in the neighborhood.
Subway: Franklin Ave, Botanic Garden, Park Pl.