While I heard the chicken at Chicken Factory is particularly good on Fry-days, I could only find time to go on Tuesday at half past hen. It was fowl weather out, as I’m sure you all remember, but despite that, the food was still eggcellent. Cock-a-doodle doo.
With that out of the way, Chicken Factory is a local Korean cuisine restaurant right on Sixth Street and Washington with a focus on Korean-style barbecue chicken. While the prices might seem a bit high for what appears to be a take-out dive, don’t be fooled; Chicken Factory has some of the finest chicken around. Certainly, at the very least, they’re a step up from your average Buffalo Wild Wings. On top of that, they also have a selection of other Korean dishes, such as kimchi and balgoki, in case you wanted something besides the chicken.
Being as how I was a complete newbie to the place, I ate in house. After sitting for a couple minutes, I quickly realized that Chicken Factory is definitely a take-out place. The tables are nice but small. The chairs are those interesting post-modern ones with a cup seat and a trapezoidal back. In addition, there’s a lot of stark white/red color jumps on the walls and at the counters, with a strong focus on simplicity. The sitting area is also definitely more of a waiting area than a dining area. One part showed through, though; they played Ariana Grande’s “Into You”. Who doesn’t love that song?
One part of the restaurant that really tripped me up was the glass circle wall on one side of the restaurant. I could totally focus on it if I looked at it, but whenever I focused on my friend I completely lost my perception of depth behind them. Maybe I just really need to get to an eye doctor. He does keep calling me, after all.
The dishes that I tried were, of course, the fried chickens. Fortunately for me, Chicken Factory runs only two different sauces and 4 different cuts, so it was easy to try almost all of them. The sauces consist of a soy garlic and a sweet and spicy sauce. The cuts consist of wings, drumsticks, fillets (or boneless?), and, for the bold, A WHOLE CHICKEN. In retrospect, it probably isn’t a whole chicken, just all the cuts together, but in my time-crunched pressure to order that’s what I had originally envisioned. That crunch is real, admit it.
My friend and I decided to get the fillets with the soy garlic and a drumstick/wing mix with the sweet and spicy. Right off the bat, after the first bite of the fillets, I was blown away. As someone who’s only ever had fast-food level wings, it was incredibly pleasant to taste actual chicken in the fillets. The outside of the fillet, however, was definitely the tour de force of the dish. It was lightly fried, crunchy, and was ready to fall off the chicken beneath it. I was tempted to just start ripping the skins off the pieces. Taste-wise they had a light salty, garlicky taste that wasn’t overpowering like I thought it might be. After getting through that, the actual chicken had a slightly sweet taste before giving way to the delectably moist and tender interior. I definitely recommend it.
The sweet and spicy drumstick/wing mix was just as good. The exterior was prepared in the same expert fashion, but in place of a soy garlic sauce, a sweet and spicy sauce was used instead. This sauce brought a lot more tang to the chicken than the other sauce, giving it quite a bit more bite. It was also incredibly hot. Admittedly, I’m no spice fiend, but I had to stop and relax at least twice, so spice-hunters beware (or rejoice). As for the chicken, the dark meat paired excellently with the sweet and spicy sauce. It brought a lot more intensity and savoriness to the dish, which provided the perfect counterbalance to the initial piercing of sweetness and spiciness.
Overall, I’d say if you want more crunchy fried skins, get the wings, but if you want more chicken get the fillets or the drumsticks. In either case, if it’s your first time, get the whole chicken and ask for a mix of the sauces. Everything is worth trying and you definitely won’t regret it.