It's not every day that you get the opportunity for a Canadian-born chef who has become a stalwart of Southern cooking in Atlanta to be your chicken wing guide in New York City's Koreatown. In fact, that's probably never happened, ever, until Hugh Acheson agreed to do so with BravoTV.com in tow for a photo feature.
Koreatown is a booming two-or-three-block section of NYC that lately has become a hotspot for sought-out grub -- namely Korean-style chicken wings, which if you haven't experienced, can best be described as the crunchiest, tastiest wings on the planet. When paired with a cold (perhaps illuminated) beer, it's magic. And, much to the surprise of many, a spot like Turntable Wings in New York is exactly the type of place Top Chef judge Hugh prefers to fancy precisely because it's far from fancy.
"I do want to go to a place where I can just relax and have fun, and not go for a nine-course meal for three hours," Hugh told us about his venue choice. "It’s like, we [chefs] live in restaurants alright, how about just a place where I can drop by for 45 minutes, an hour, get a pitcher, meet some friends, and eat some awesome chicken wings? They are awesome chicken wings."
As for those tasty chicken appendages, Korean wings aren't just your typical toss-them-in-the-fryer variety. As Hugh explains:
"[Turntable fries] these chicken wings in this really long process, and in three different temperatures over the course of about an hour, resting in between, and then finish them, and I think what happens is they really render off a lot of their fat, so they’re really light when you get them. Now, they’re intensely spicy, but they’re almost dry spicy—they’re not sticky, saucy, sweet, or anything. There’s so much good Korean food in Koreatown, but a lot of it’s going to be much more traditional—this is kind of the young hipster haunt of Koreatown. It’s fun to be here."