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Quick-serve restaurant offering Korean-style fried chicken, plus bi bim bop, mandoo, salads, sandwiches, and Korean "burritos."

Our Review

Doug Funke says he and partner Jae Lee sampled the goods at more than 200 chain and mom-and-pop fried chicken joints from coast to coast in preparation for opening Crisp, their spot in Lakeview, which draws its main influence from Korean tong dak—whole fried chickens hacked into pieces. There are two offerings representing the Korean style, and while Funke admits the heat in the "Crisp BBQ" has been turned down for American palates, it’s still a commendable version—dark red, slightly sweet, and sprinkled with sesame seeds—and customers have the option to dial it back up. "Seoul Sassy" is a more multidimensional soy-ginger-garlic-based recipe, sweeter but not obnoxious. The sauces here don’t overwhelm the bird but rather complement the crackly skin; in fact, they’re so integrated it seems strange to even call them sauces. Unsauced "Plain Jane" fried chicken is also available, as are buffalo wings made from a recipe "stolen" from the Ravenswood hot dog stand Budacki’s Drive-In, owned by Lee’s family. If I have any worry for this ambitious project, it’s that Lee and Funke are overextending themselves by offering cutesy renditions of bi bim bop, mandoo, salads, sandwiches, sides, and Korean “burritos,” all with a dizzying abundance of options. White rice or organic brown rice in the bowl? Steamed or fried dumplings? Want cheese with that burrito? Bacon, beef, chicken, or shrimp in that salad? They could just sell fried chicken skin and I’d be satisfied.

Mike Sula

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Price: $
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx

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