New York’s Momofuku Restaurant Group enters the Boston market this weekend with Fuku, a fried-chicken restaurant opening in the Seaport at 43 Northern Ave. This is Fuku’s first storefront location outside of New York.
The restaurant opened in New York City’s East Village in 2015 and quickly drew a following for fried-chicken sandwiches. These are not ordinary sandwiches: Most are spicy and can be topped with things like pickled daikon, spicy cheese sauce, and spicy cucumbers. There are also spiced fingers and wings. And, yes, there is an “extremely spicy” option.
Momofuku founder David Chang appeared on the food scene in 2004, with New York City’s heralded Momofuku Noodle Bar and later Momofuku Ssam Bar, known for rotisserie duck and slow-roasted pork. Now he runs noodle bars, restaurants, and soft-serve counters throughout the country. He also stars in the Netflix culinary history series “Ugly Delicious.”
The Boston restaurant will serve lunch and dinner. It officially opens for lunch Saturday.
Executive chef Stephanie Abrams says Fuku “leans in heavily to chicken — it’s the only protein we have on the menu, and specifically we lean in heavily to dark meat and using the thigh. We love our thighs! It’s a tastier piece of meat, in my opinion. There’s a lot more flavor and it stays more juicy,” she says.
There are also a few Boston-only dishes here, including a sandwich with onion-ring-like squash rings, ranch, and spicy glaze. Takeout is popular, but those who prefer to dine in can live large with a spread of habanero fried chicken, sweet-and-spicy fingers, five-spice wings, macaroni salad, fries, rolls, and drinks.
Ah, yes, drinks: Fuku is known for strawberry lemonade and blood orange slushies.
Mac salad, meanwhile, is a take on a “New York bodega mac salad,” Abrams says, bound with a house mayonnaise that blends ginger and garlic. “It’s a fan favorite,” she says. Squash rings are rolled in a house dredge with habanero powder, deep-fried, and seasoned with jalapeno. Fries are seasoned with dehydrated jalapeno and a bit of sugar; hungry Fuku fiends top them with cheese sauce, ranch, bacon, scallions, and chicken thighs.
“The kitchen loves making them. Guests are always amazed at how big it is,” Abrams says. Health-conscious poultry lovers can opt for a griddled chicken sandwich. There’s also a citrus spinach salad with mandarin orange and sesame crackers in orange-soy vinaigrette.
But, really, don’t hold back.
“We want you to use your hands. Rip into that chicken. Dip into our sauces,” Abrams says.