When I found out that I had to go back to NYC for a weekend, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do... I mean eat. There's a lot of things that I never had the chance to try, a lot of restaurants that I miss immensely, and a lot of places that just opened up that I've never even seen before. Too much food, not enough stomachs... a dilemma I seem to come across pretty frequently in life. I was craving Korean fried chicken, so I considered going to Kyochon or Bonchon, but what's the fun in that? I've been to both numerous times already. I really wanted to try something new, which is when I remembered a place that I'd heard about years ago, but never got to visit... Tebaya.
I had first heard about Tebaya way back when, even before I lived in NYC. I saw a profile done on them by some Japanese food show where they introduced their specialty, lightly fried chicken wings coated in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce. It sounded like the winning idea ever, and the photos made it look even better, but for some reason or another, I never made it a point to try it. Then, a few months ago, I read about it again on Danny's blog, and I knew that this shit was real legit. I knew I had to have it.
Their chicken wing lunch special will run you $6.95. It's basically 8 of their wings served over plain white rice, with some bootleg salad served on the side (it's just plain lettuce, slivered carrots, and a small cup of vinegar dressing on the side). A bit annoying is the fact that they no longer give you a drink as part of the meal, but whatever, minor gripe. Shit son... no one's going here for their drinks, it's all about the chicken! Anyway, not gonna mince words here, the wings are fantabulous... that's right, so good I had to make up a word to describe them. Fried skin on, they're superbly light and crisp, without a semblance of burning. The inner meat is juicy and perfectly tender. Even if they were just served straight up plain, I'm pretty sure I'd still be able to down them without complaint, but what elevates it to a whole 'nother level is for sure the sauce. Seeming to defy science, the sauce is viscous enough to stick to the crispy skin, but not your fingers. The flavor profile is a sweet teriyaki blend, with a subtle vinegar-like kick. I know people tell me not to say this, but these wings are sensual. That's the only way I can think of to describe them. I'll leave it at that.