For fellow Korean drama fanatics, the term "chimaek" shouldn't sound foreign. It depicts the well-loved combination of fried chicken (pronounced 'chikkin'/치킨) and beer (maekju/맥주) - much like bar bites and sangria pitchers on warm summer evenings.
Not too far from the Kennedy exit on the Express Toll, Mr. Chimaek is skillfully hidden in a small plaza, storefront camouflaged by shrubbery and a longstanding Pizza Pizza.
A lady donning a dark copper bob greeted us with a beaming smile, and gestured towards one of the many spacious tables. The wide chairs featured bouncy padding on both their backs and bottoms, lending bounciness to its otherwise rigid frame.
Admittedly, the thirty-four dollar price tag for the Half & Half was a bit much to stomach at first. But we later discovered the exceptional value of such an item.
A chilled selection of soft drinks, import beers, and soju was also available for the non-drivers.
Steaming cups of hot barley tea were provided once customers had settled on their meal(s) of choice. The single member of front-line staff had delivered the beverages in Stainless steel cups after order placement, along with a plastic bag-lined bone bucket.
Astonishingly enough, the exterior of the Stainless steel cups did not exhibit signs of condensation nor temperature changes given the heat, or lack thereof, of the contained beverage. Such stellar insulating properties have yet to witnessed elsewhere to this date.
Ice water was also delivered upon request; an ice-making machine ensured ice cubes would be available at all times of the day.
White and pink pickled radish filled another container; the level of astringency was on the modest side, dissimilar to store-bought radishes boasting forced saturation.
Suitable for even those with the weakest tolerance ever, the Original Fried Chicken was completely mild with thin yet textured breading. The just-cooked white meat was absolutely scrumptious, albeit a tad drier than that of the Rice Powder variation. While its seasonings probably did not exceed the basic salt-and-pepper blend, the art of frying had changed the game entirely.
Portions were ginormous in comparison to MyMy, and far more enjoyable on that note. A full order sustained cravings for three separate meals afterwards, even managing to maintain the same degree of deliciousness with re-toasting.
Adopting a rustic, nearly industrial finishing, the addition of pop art and manga installations added a dose of whimsy. An avocado-shaped basin, diffusers, non-commercial type hand wash and lotion duo were other components of the space. The most intriguing factor was, no doubt, the square toilets.
The base of Jasmine Tea was depicted as a green tea with floral notes, though the result was closer to a strong green tea that had been oversteeped to the point where astringency was present.
Milkiness was owed to milk powder, and the milk pudding I had added failed to meet freshness standards. Moreover, the portion consisted of fairly small chunks that neither bore the same level of sweetness nor silkiness as egg pudding (à la Three Guys). One could easily source a tastier beverage for less at any of the surrounding bubble tea vendors.
The top layer of butterfly pea tea is bland, as is the bottom-most green tea layer. he mango slush, evidently compiled using mango syrup and/or synthetic mango puree, was excessively sugary and consisted of several blocks of ice that failed to incorporate themselves into the drink. Layers were poured (or spooned) into the jar via a funnel, such that the colours would remain distinct due to density differences. The hefty price tag of $7.50 did not justify this mediocre-tasting creation whatsoever.
The estimated creation time was 7-9 mins, but the entire wait time approximated 15 minutes during off-peak hours.
The male member of staff behind cashier was able to clearly describe the offerings on the menu, but his voice possessed a half-hearted, sales pitch-like tone, which caused the ordering process to sound more deceptive than genuine.