Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Cafe Soho Korean Fried Chicken - Cheltenham PA

After a recent trip to have the sublime soft tofu soup at Jong Ka Jib in Koreatown on the edge of Philly, a colleague advised me of the nearby Cafe Soho, a source for KFC. KFC? Korean Fried Chicken. There is a full menu of conventional Korean dishes, and some fried chicken as expected, but most folks go for the chicken wings.

View from the street; click any pic to enlarge
Parking was a bit of a chore in this area - many businesses, few parking lots. We found a spot and entered Cafe Soho. There is a vibrant and warm red decor; some have described this as a sports bar that serves Korean chicken. There were big screen TVs and several groups of youngish (20s and 30s) Korean-Americans there, but it was not really a sports bar aura. In fact, although the other patrons seemed young and stylish, they seemed also nerdy, in a good way. Our mixed group was one of only a few that were non-Korean customers. Anyhow, I took it as a good sign that the place seemed to be filled with locals.

Seafood Udon
Our group of five included four wing-eaters. One member who knows Korean food pretty well chose a noodle (udon) dish with seafood, and she enjoyed it. I had just a brief taste; it was good, but my mind was on the wings.

Basket of wings
Wings are sold in baskets of 20 wings for $20. We chose a basket of soy-garlic wings, and a basket with 10 spicy wings and 10 honey-BBQ wings. The method is "twice fried" before the application of sauce. Not sure how they do it, but these had a crunchy fried exterior like no other wings I've had. Fantastic texture.

Bite out of a meaty wing
It's hard to pick a favorite, but the soy-garlic probably comes out on top. The spicy wings at first seemed to be too fiery, but we handled them without need for a fire extinguisher. Our youngest member preferred the honey-BBQ wings. All of these wings were packed with flavor but they were somehow less sticky and messy than you expect with chicken wings.

He liked the wings, really!
Service was pleasant, but distracted. Meals were brought out in apparent random timing and it took too long to get our check. That's a small complaint, though. I liked the ambiance, I liked that I did not feel like an intruder in a place where I was an obvious outsider, and these may have been the best wings I've had. Yep - destination chicken wings.
Cafe Soho on Urbanspoon

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