Bonchon has been in soft-opening mode for several weeks, but has announced that Wednesday, Jan. 30 is its official grand opening in Corbin’s Corner in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
West Harford residents will gather to watch “the big game” on Sunday – a day when wings will be likely be consumed in large quantity – and with the opening of Bonchon in Corbin’s Corner, the town now has its own local source of the world-famous cooked-to-order Korean-style chicken wings.
A take-out order of Bonchon’s wings – available in flavors that include spicy, soy garlic, sweet crunch, or a half-and-half combination – comes in a box that says “Addicted yet?” If the bones are too much trouble, there are boneless wings, as well as drumsticks, or chicken strips, all with Bonchon’s signature preparations. All come with a side of pickled radish or coleslaw.
Hui Lin, the owner of West Hartford’s Bonchon franchise location, said that the wings really are unique, fresh-fried for each order, with a paper-thin and crispy coating, and tender and juicy meat inside. And the spicy wings are really spicy.
Bonchon is much more than a take-out wing place. It’s a casual sit-down restaurant that also offers generous servings of a variety of Asian fusion dishes with a nod to Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine.
Bonchon also has a bar, and serves beer, wine, sake, and soju – a clear distilled spirit popular in Korea.
In addition to the Korean fried chicken, Lin, who previously owned the Bonchon franchise in Storrs, said that the Bibimbap is very popular.
There are a variety of Bibimbap bowls (the base is white rice, quinoa, vegetables, and egg) served at the table in a sizzling hot stone bowl with a side of Bonchon red pepper paste that definitely offers a kick. (Hint: Don’t use it like salad dressing.)
Other Korean specialties include Bulgogi (thinly-sliced ribeye marinated in a homemade sauce, sautéed with mushrooms, scallions, and onions and served with rice), and Japchae (glass noodles, red pepper, carrots, onions, spinach, mushrooms, and thinly-sliced marinated beef, stir-fried with Bonchon soy garlic sauce and sesame oil), and rice bowls with a variety of savory toppings. Prices range from $12.95-$15.95.
The Asian fusion section of the menu includes dishes like Tteokbokki (rice cakes and fish cakes simmered with scallions and onion in Bonchon hot sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese and kimari), Takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise, katsu sauce, and a sprinkle of bonito flakes), potstickers, a salmon and avocado bowl, shrimp Shuman, bull dak, and udon noodle soup. Prices range from $5.95-$14.95.
The menu also includes Korean tacos, wraps, sliders, and pork buns, as well as a sesame ginger salad or Caesar salad with several topping alternatives.
Most everything is a la carte, and the available sides include American favorites like season fries and onion rings, as well as kimchi, edamame, pickled radish, and miso soup.
Lunch specials ($6.95-$8.95) are offered Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Bonchon was launched in Busan, South Korea, in 2002 (the name means “my hometown” in Korean), and there are now more than 300 hundred locations spread across 12 countries, with the headquarters in New York City. This is the fourth in Connecticut, with other locations are in Manchester, New Haven, and Storrs.
Bonchon is located at 1491 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, right next to Trader Joe’s in Corbin’s Corner. The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
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