Korean fried-chicken places have been popping up all over Seattle as of late, and Chicglet, on the Ave in the University District, is one of the newest additions to that list.
But Chicglet’s owners, husband-and-wife team of Tony and K.C. Chae, are hoping to carve out a niche by winning the loyalty of hungry college students.
For one, there’s the eye-catching name. Yes, Chicglet is a made-up word. But it makes sense, really: “chick plus piglet is Chicglet,” says K.C., grinning. Chicglet’s menu consists entirely of fried chicken and pork in different configurations, all hot, tasty, priced in the $8-$16 range and portable — in the silliest, yet oh-so-handy way possible.
Chicglet’s specialty is wings, and fresh fruit sodas. For $11-$12 (depending on your meat choice), you can get a combo of either wings or boneless chicken or pork in your choice of marinade (you have four options: spicy, soy sauce, parsley parmesan, mozzarella) and a housemade fresh fruit soda (again, four options: strawberry, mango, blueberry, pineapple).
It comes served in a handy to-go contraption: The big fruit soda sits in a 24-ounce cup, and the boneless pork bites plus accompanying pile of fries are served in a tray that fits perfectly over the mouth of the cup. One end of the tray has a slit for a straw — easy slurping! — and the other has a slot from which to hang a fork.
The whole thing is quite ingenious, really. “For the students to grab so they can drink and eat as they walk to class,” K.C. says.
The Chaes import the special combo tray from South Korea, where it’s apparently quite common. They tried to get it made in the U.S. but realized the cost was prohibitive.
The Chaes are South Korean natives who found their way to Seattle by way of Colorado. They’ve operated several restaurants in South Korea, but Chicglet is their first restaurant in Seattle, and they’re hoping to expand if the first store blossoms. At the moment, it’s very much a family enterprise. Two of their four daughters work at Chicglet, and one is the manager.
Oh, and about those cute murals you see of chickens and pigs on the walls? K.C. drew them herself and painted them with the help of her daughters.
On the Saturday we visited, we ordered two combo trays: spicy wings and mango soda ($12), and boneless pork with mozzarella marinade and a strawberry soda ($11). We also got the boneless chicken with soy sauce marinade ($8) and soy sauce rice cakes gang jeung ($5). It all fed three people comfortably.
We found the fruit sodas a little too sweet, but appreciated that they were housemade with real fruit and seltzer water.
Our favorite item? The boneless chicken with soy sauce marinade. The chicken bites were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Importantly, they weren’t too thickly breaded, and we liked the slight sesame flavor accenting the sweet soy marinade. Also, those crinkle fries they come with? Those were surprisingly satisfying. You know how some crinkle fries are sad and soggy on the outside with a mushy interior? These absolutely did not do that. They were hot and wonderfully crispy and I couldn’t stop eating them.
We liked the spicy wings, too. Word to the wise: There’s no such thing as a spice rating here. You don’t get to pick “hot, medium, mild.” The Chaes serve them up with their secret spicy sauce that’s got a single, consistent level of heat to it. Think of it as a sweet chili sauce with a long-lasting afterburn. The wings do not come with fries.
The boneless pork bites weren’t as popular with my group. The cheese it came with was more like a spicy nacho cheese sauce than actual mozzarella — though, there were definitely some flakes of mozzarella lurking around there, too. Just, “not enough,” said my cheese-loving wife.
By the way, everything on the menu except the gyoza is gluten free.
Chicglet; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, closed on Sunday; 4135 University Way N.E., Seattle; chicglet.com