Every NYC neighborhood deserves a first-rate fried chicken spot, and the people living around 90th and Amsterdam on the Upper West Side just got theirs. Chick Chick opened a couple of weeks ago after too many pandemic-induced delays, and the solid table-service restaurant focuses on chef and owner Jun Park’s two favorite foods, fried chicken and ramen. The ramen part of the menu isn’t quite ready to go just yet, but I can tell you that Park’s chicken is excellent, in all of its guises.
The Chick Chick menu features three different kinds of fried chicken, which can be eaten as a sandwich; as a whole or half bird; as a mess of wings; or as tenders, either with dipping sauce or on top of a salad. The signature bird here is Park’s KSG, or Korean Sweet Gochujang, which I gleefully demolished last week. The well-battered exterior crackles, the meat inside is soft and juicy, and there’s so much flavor you don’t even really need the sauces… though both of them, the Soy Garlic and the Hot Honey, were quite good.
You can get the KSG in a sandwich as well, topped with kimchi slaw, but in this category I wanted to taste Park’s take on Nashville Hot Chicken, which he drizzles with a zingy white sauce. As before, the bird itself is perfectly cooked, and the batter is spicy enough that you’ll appreciate the accompanying pickled chunks of daikon as a palate soother. Next time around I’m trying the Chickwich sandwich with cheese and Chick Chick sauce.
As much as we enjoyed all of the above, the best thing on our table may have been Park’s Kimchi Fried Rice, a big pile of chewy grains in a fiery sauce, studded with bits of chicken sausage, funked up with tobiko, and nicely complemented by a runny egg. This is a terrific dish, definitely get it to share no matter what else you ordered. The fries are very good as well, and come in a generously-portioned cone.
Other options at Chick Chick include two salads, a loaded-up kale and quinoa number and a Caesar, available with or without chicken tenders; those soon-to-be-available bowls of ramen, one of which features chicken chashu; and a dessert involving a white chocolate chip cookie and green tea ice cream, both made in-house. Park is still waiting on his beer license, so it’s just soft drinks for now.
The interior decor is cool and contemporary, especially for the UWS, with neon graphics and a sleek wooden counter looking over the open kitchen. For now, though, the only seating is “outside” within the bright pink sidewalk enclosure, a structure that will likely feel more ventilated once the plastic sheeting comes down.
Chick Chick is located at 618 Amsterdam Avenue, at the corner of 90th Street, and is currently open on Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, and 4:30 to 9 p.m. for dinner (212-799-1026; chickchicknyc.com)