Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center
2750 Alton Parkway #111
Irvine, CA 92614
After hearing all the hype about BBQ Chicken, the new Korean fried chicken joint in Irvine, I decided I had to go down there and try it. With a name like BBQ chicken, most people would assume that this place specializes in barbecue chicken. It does not. While they do have barbecue chicken on the menu, this place specializes in Korean Fried Chicken that is fried in pure olive oil. Their sign says that "BBQ" stands for "Best of the Best Quality." BBQ Chicken is the second branch of this chain to open in Orange County. BBQ Chicken though, claims to be the world's largest fried chicken chain with over 3500 locations worldwide.
I walked in the front door completely expecting to encounter an environment like KFC. Instead I found myself in a small restaurant with modern decor and comfy looking leather chairs. We were asked if we were going to eat there or take our food to go. We pondered for a minute and finally decided to dine in.
They brought us glossy paper menus that appear to double as the take-out menus. Most of the chicken here is served in 5 or 10 piece orders. Their Original Olive Chicken was also available in a 2 piece combo with fries. After looking over the menu, J decided to get the Original Olive Chicken Combo with fries and cole slaw ($5.99). I wanted to try their Drumsticks of Fire. It wasn't available in a combo though, so I ordered the smallest order, a 5 piece for $8.99. I felt I should have something other than a large plate of fried chicken for lunch, so I ordered a side of fried rice for $1.75. The waitress told me that my chicken would take 15-20 minutes to prepare. I told her that would be fine.
A few minutes later the waitress dropped of a small salad at our table with two plates. I guess this is something that everyone gets with their meal. The salad kind of tasted like a weird cole slaw.
While we were trying the salad, the waitress brought us a small bowl of white cubes in a clear liquid. "What is that?" I asked. "Radish.....Daikon," she replied. "Oh....." I tried a piece. The daikon radish was pickled in a brine of vinegar and sugar. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't for me. I guess the Koreans have a really different idea of side dishes with fried chicken.
After about ten minutes, J was served a wire basket with a fried chicken wing, chicken thigh, french fries and cole slaw. I tried one of the french fries. They were pretty yummy. They must be fried in olive oil too. J thought the chicken was ok, but wasn't overly impressed.
About 5 minutes later I finally received my Drumsticks of Fire. Five very large drumsticks were in a circular pattern on my plate and had been drizzled with a bright red hot sauce. I eagerly took a bite. The coating was crunchy and crispy. The first thought to enter my mind was "Wow, these are sweet." Shortly after though I could start to feel the heat. The chicken was pretty spicy, which is usually a good thing. I think I'll stick to the original chicken next time though. If it were just spicy it would be fine, but I'm not really a big fan of the sweetness in my hot sauce.
My fried rice was brought in a styrofoam cup. It was really bad. It tasted horrible at the same time as it was really bland. I can't explain it. It had no flavor, but really bad flavor at the same time. I could only bring myself to eat a couple of bites. J tried it and said that it was so bad, she didn't think she'd be able to eat fried rice for a while.
Overall, the chicken was pretty good. It was very crispy and crunchy which I really like. Frying the chicken in Olive Oil seemed to also give it a nice clean flavor. However, I feel that the prices are a little high, especially since you only get dark meat chicken. I do prefer dark meat, but I know it's a lot cheaper than breasts. I realize the prices aren't that high, but I tend to think of fried chicken as a fast food meal. If I'm going to pay $9.00 for a meal, I want it to at least come with a side dish. Going to BBQ Chicken was a fun experience, but I think I'll just make it an occasional splurge. When I want to pig out on fried chicken, I think I'll stick to the 10 pieces of KFC Extra Crispy for $7.