Forte Baden Baden ~ Orderinny

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Forte Baden Baden

Thanks to a couple of influential reviews, KFC now stands for Korean Fried Chicken in the city. New York Times featured the dish in a recent review, calling the chicken
moist with "crackling crisp skin". While Paul was in town, Gerrie and I visited Forte Baden Baden, a pub in Ktown and purveyor of the said dish to test these claims.
The golden bird, first roasted to seal in the juices and then deep fried came in a huge platter for $19.95, looking extremely delectable. It was accompanied by thick fries and a bowl of sweet and munchable pickled radish. A pair of squirt bottles housed ketchup and chilli sauce for people looking for more flavor. We bit into the chicken, waiting to
crown the Koreans masters of the deep fat fryer. The meat was juicy while the batter free skin was paper crisp. But there was no revelatory moment. In fact, we three had been eating chicken fried in this or in a very similar way all our lives. Any decent Cantonese restaurant would feature this dish, sometimes with garlic, sometimes without. Congee Village down in Chinatown does it well, as do Ping's with its mini quail version.
Aside from the mild disappointment experienced from eating something familiar (we had expected somewhat unrealistically in hindsight, that Korean chicken would have a more bombastic taste), we enjoyed ourselves immensely in the darkened room eating, besides the chicken a fiery dish of stir-fried octopus and vegetables, crimson from chili paste resting atop a bed of udon. In the darkened room fashioned like any other pub in the city, we washed the gut-sticking food down with beer, giggled at the servers' faux military garb and ate heartily. While the chicken at Baden Baden does not displace chicken at KFC in our mental ranking of best chicken tasted (there is something disturbingly comforting at eating commercially fried chicken from a tub), we enjoyed the alternative pub experience at Baden Baden and will recommend it to anyone looking for something more substantial than fries and onion rings to go with their beer.

Restaurant Forte Baden Baden
28 West 32nd St (5th and 6th Aves)
(212) 714-2266