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Some people in the restaurant business with opinions I trust mentioned that they tried the new David Chang restaurant called Fuku which serves only fried chicken sandwiches. Until Danny Meyer opens Chicken Shack (which is my idea), there are not many places to get a proper chicken sandwich. Blue Smoke has a nice one (again, my idea).
I schlepped on the subway all the way to First Avenue and 10th Street to Fuku. The trendy Millennial hipsters have already made the place hard to get in. One has to wait in line outside for at least 15-minutes.
I wedged into the counter in front of the kitchen and watched them make the $8 chicken filets. They double-fry them, Korean style, but there does not seem to be too much sugar in the mix. The breading holds up well.
However, Mr. Chang, who has been praised and coddled by the press for 15-years, is pushing the envelope of hubris by serving chicken on what is a total joke of a bun. They use cheap small buns that could be bought at any bad grocery story. They are so soft that they become smashed and compressed inside the foil wrapper before anyone can eat them sandwich.
I know what Mr. Chang is thinking. He is trying to flaunt that his sandwich is all about the meat, and the bun is just an edible wrapper. But he is wrong. The bun should be the most important component to a sandwich.
The $3 potato fries were of the wedge nature. The seasoning was good and they were not too bad.
What really ruins the Fuku experience, more than the bad buns, is the total lack of hospitality. Fine. If you are willing to be a hipster and eat standing up next to strangers, I can understand that. By lack of hospitality, I am referring to the bad attitudes of the managers. In this case, the little twit told me to turn off the flash of my camera, and seemed clueless about the preparation methods of the food. When I reviewed the noodle bar restaurant, I also noticed bad hospitality.
David Chang is one of the most overrated chefs in the city. He could never run a proper sit-down restaurant outside of the confines of Hipsterville where the customers are more demanding. He only knows how to serve fast casual food in the East Village.
So, if you are a gullible Millennial masochist who likes to wait in line and be abused by managers like the Seinfeld Soup Nazi, then you will like Fuku. If you are a grownup and have a brain, this place is to be avoided.