Chicken 649 on Quadra Street offers up a variety of flavours of its trademark fried chicken, from mild to spicy. yelp.ca

Chicken 649 on Quadra Street offers up a variety of flavours of its trademark fried chicken, from mild to spicy. yelp.ca

ALLAN REID: Chicken bonanza, Korean style

Simple Victoria restaurant knows how to please if your go-tos are chicken and fries

You’ve spent the afternoon swimming at Victoria’s Crystal Pool with your kids (or grandkids, as the case may be), and they are starving, and who doesn’t love fried chicken?

Lucky for you, Chicken 649 is right across the street. That little white box of a building on the corner of Quadra and Queens, the one with the sunshine yellow entrance? Don’t be scared, for it offers some mighty fine fried chicken.

Allan Reid, Monday restaurant reviewer

And this is budget dining. No expense has been made that wasn’t absolutely necessary. A stub-wall and short ramp turn arrivals toward the small counter, where a much amended menu is presented and orders and money are taken. Behind is the kitchen. A pair of beverage coolers stand to the left. The rest of the space can only be described as utilitarian and spartan.

A single relevant movie quote (from The Help) adorns one wall: the sole concession to decor. Otherwise the place is painted in peeling black and white. Wood-veneer tables and long-ago painted wooden chairs with well-worn white leather seats and a long grey wooden bench complete the room. Oh, and the pair of portable electric heaters by the window. But the place seems clean enough.

I ordered the 649 Original Lunch Special ($9.50), which offers five pieces of chicken, six jumbo potato wedges and a can of pop with ketchup and mayonnaise for dipping. As an adult, I noted the absence of greens, and so ordered a green salad ($3). I then selected my pop of choice (or choose from a decent selection of local craft beer for extra cost) and returned to my seat.

Moments later a personal-size pizza box arrived at my table with a plastic take-out container of salad fresh from the fridge (only an odd fork is ever dirtied in this dining room). I suspect I got the coleslaw (same price), for it was not very green: shredded cabbage with flecks of carrot, celery and kale. It came covered in an unappetizing gelatinous substance reminiscent of congealed chicken fat but tasting like overly sweetened vinegar. I don’t expect much for $3, but I do expect an effort to please.

Of course, this is not a salad café. I’m here for Korean Fried Chicken, which, FYI, is lightly breaded in panko, pre-fried to reduce fat before deep frying, and has minimal seasoning. This chicken is light, crispy, toasty and neither too greasy, nor too salty. Salt is available if you need it. Same crust on the wedges, which are adorned with fresh minced herbs. My five pieces of chicken contained just two bones and plenty of soft and juicy meat. And those six wedges must have equalled one whole russet potato. A big meal and, honestly, I’ve never enjoyed better.

But if plain friend chicken seems, well, too plain, 649 offers six options to liven it up: sweet and spicy Yang-Nyeom, Soy-Garlic, Sweet Honey, Pa-Dak (topped with shredded green onion), Cilantro-Lime and Creamy Cheese (fried chicken is dipped in a cheese sauce and sprinkled with minced herbs).

Chicken can be ordered in eight or 16-piece boxes that are perfect to take home, to a park or to a party. In any case, arrive with a box or three and bask in the accolades. Dine in or take out, you and the kids will love you for at least as long as the flavour lingers and the bellies are full. Just slap down your inner adult and leave the salad in the fridge.

Chicken 649, 2224 Quadra St.

250-590-6491 chicken649.ca

*****

Also by Allan Reid:

Like fresh food? Find it in Cook Street Village

A good time for Thai in Estevan Village

Authentic Mexican molé hits the spot

FoodRestaurant review

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

ALLAN REID: Chicken bonanza, Korean style

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Get the word on art on Sunday afternoons in Victoria

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria presents Sunday lecture series in March

GVPA authors
Write On! Greater Victoria Public Library releases 2021 local authors collection

Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) is celebrating local authors with the unveiling… Continue reading

Hermann's Jazz Club
Hermann’s celebrates International Women’s Day and St. Paddy’s Day

International Women’s Day will be celebrated at Hermann’s Jazz Club with an… Continue reading

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

The shadow cast of the Satyr Players production of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’: Linda Dohmeier as Dr. Scott, Olivia Erickson as Columbia, Brandon Caul as Rocky, Christopher Carter as Brad, Charlie Prince as Eddie, Branden Martell as Riff Raff, Jenna Morgan as Magenta, Megan Rhode as Janet and Adrien Kennedy as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (clockwise from left). (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
VIU student actors go online for 25th-annual ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Satyr Players theatre company to broadcast pre-recorded shadow production

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

Nanaimo painter Shawnda Wilson hangs her exhibit Tropical Wallpaper at Jonny the Barber. The show runs until the end of March. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter battles pandemic blues with tropical exhibition

Shawnda Wilson presents ‘Tropical Wallpaper’ at Old City Quarter barbershop

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit https://nicart.tickit.ca/. (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor Meigs joins North Island College Artist Talk series

Vivid, immersive, and enigmatic style combines the complex with comic elements

Arts Laureate Barbara Adams joins artist Luke Ramsey and Mayor Kevin Murdoch in front of the Parade of Play mural at the Oak Bay High track. (Black Press Media file photo)
Curtain draws to a close on Oak Bay arts laureate’s term

Barbara Adams has been a champion for arts in the community

The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program are rehearsing this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for their upcoming virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Island high school’s musical theatre program hoping for last-minute ticket surge

Popular annual run of Timberline shows costs $7,000-$8,000 to stage, sold $750 in tickets

Steve Bick is coming out of his COVID cocoon with a curated compilation of original tracks by West Coast musicians. (Submitted photo)
Curated album showcases West Coast musicians

‘Locals Only – Volume One’ features an eclectic mix of tunes from musicians living on the Pacific Rim

Most Read