I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.
See, I have this thing about fusion food. That thing being: I hate it. I also hate when people take traditional items like, for example, a torta and then smack it up flip it and reverse it and charge $10 for it (*cough* Rick Bayless *cough*). I live in a neighborhood where there is a Mexican restaurant every 10 feet (representing all different areas in Mexico) and I am more than pleased with that kinda of price and variety.
So when I first heard about Crisp I was like…meh. I have mastered my own Korean style fried chicken in my own little kitchen. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about any of the other menu options. Having had a less than fabulous experience at another Korean fusion restaurant in Lakeview last summer…I was in no hurry.
Again, I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.
A friend convinced me to give Crisp a try on a brisk Saturday afternoon. I agreed…but only because I needed to go to Lakeview anyway. Like I said, less than enthused.
But almost as soon as I walked through the door, I felt like this was going to be an enjoyable experience. The restaurant itself is very small and the seating is communal (one thing I hate more than fusion food? Communal dining) with big long wooden tables/benches and a counter/stool situation along one wall. You can peruse the menu (a nice stack of laminated menus are available right inside the front door) without feeling like you’re taking up space. Once you’ve made your selections you can proceed to the cashier to place your order and snag a beverage from the coolers in the back. I will admit to gagging a little at the prices ($9 for 5 chicken wings!? I was raised on Harold’s Chicken. You can buy a whole bucket of their chicken for like $15) but some of my approx $18 order was first timer error. And…it was totally worth it.
I should have split the side dishes with my friend. Most of the rice and the kimchi went to waste which made me sad. But they will give you a to-go container for your extras and the kimchi is already packaged to take home if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have three jars of the stuff at home. So, I could have saved a little money by paying attention to those details. My fault. But $9 for those wings? WORTH EVERY DAMN PENNY.
Crisp has various sauces for their chicken (available in wings, whole chickens, and strips). I went for the Seoul Sassy. GET THE SEOUL SASSY. I repeat: GET THE SEOUL SASSY. Never a more perfect combination of sticky sweet yet savory spiced saucy deliciousness has ever existed. I actually squealed in excitement with my first bite. Despite being completely coated in sauce, the skin was crispy. Not hint of gloopiness. And as you can see from the picture, the wings are MASSIVE. I barely finished them but not because of lack of effort. The rice was perfectly cooked (doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment but you’d be surprised at all the bad rice I’ve encountered) and the kimchi was great. The massive roll of paper towels on the table came in very handy as did the assortment of condiments.
Crisp also sells “buddha bowls” (a twist on bibimbop), Korean burritos, and sandwiches.
But really. Go for the chicken.
I can’t wait to go back. If you go, let me know. I’ll tag along