Crisp

Photograph: Martha Williams
Crisp
Lakeview

“How is it?” the owner asked as we finished a fried chicken wing. Given that he seemed to really want to know, we told him the truth: “Salty. Tasty, but really, really salty.”

“Arggggh,” he groaned. “Again.” And then he disappeared with our tray of uneaten wings. A minute later, he reappeared. “Those are the saltiest damn chicken wings I’ve ever tasted, and we’ll be making you a new batch right away.”

And so it goes. Customer service with results. The two Korean-Americans behind this tiny new chicken joint in Lakeview realize they opened on a wing and a prayer, or more accurately, a Grandma’s wing recipe and a prayer, so they’re particularly open to feedback. And opening kinks aside, they have a good product. The chicken is fresh, of good quality, and comes slathered in three different sauces: a sticky barbecue, a hot sauce–laced Buffalo and a sesame-soy glaze dubbed “Seoul Sassy.” I prefer the latter, but even unadorned the chicken stands out for its juicy meat and crunchy black pepper–dotted crust.

There’s also a decent bibimbap (best ordered with “marinated” vegetables, beef, an egg and brown rice), Korean-style burritos whose fresh vegetables benefit from a liberal slather of sweetish hot sauce, and skippable potstickers with innocuous fillings. But the chicken is the thing. At least it was the second time around.

Venue name: Crisp
Contact:
Address: 2940 N Broadway
Chicago

Cross street: between Oakdale and Wellington Aves
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-9pm
Transport: El stop: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Wellington. Bus: 22, 36, 76, 77, 151, 156.
Price: Average main course: $9
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