David Chang Changes The Midtown Game with Fuku+
It's good news when David Chang opens pretty much anything, beginning way back in 2004 with his pioneering Momofuku Noodle Bar, then through the years with Ssam, Ko, Milk Bar, Ma Peche, and Fuku, his fried-chicken sandwich shop that took the East Village by storm this summer. Then just last week, a stunning surprise (for those of us who get excited about such things): Fuku+, an expanded take on his downtown mega-hit, opened with zero warning on the balcony of Ma Peche in Midtown. Now not only can Midtowners (lunch AND dinner eaters) feast on Chang's fried chicken, but there's a bunch of other first-rate dishes to be had there as well. Hence the "+". And there are both walk-in and reservations options! So much Chang, all in one place. I made it up to Fuku+ on opening day, after the lunch rush, and here's what I liked most….
Welcome To Fuku+, Can I Take Your Order?
The Fuku+ walk-in menu features a kind of slider version of Chang's fried chicken sandwich called the Minime, and though I didn't order one on my first visit, I can state with confidence that it was likely excellent, based on my experience eating three regular-sized sandwiches downtown, one each on three days in a row in July. Chang uses thigh meat, so it's plenty juicy and packed with that rich, dark-meat flavor, and the seasoning is just fiery enough to get your attention, with those sweet undertones that come with habanero and scotch bonnet. The bun is steamed (but not soggy), and the only adornment is a couple of slices of pickle, which give it a nice little hit of acid. You can also ask for the off-menu daikon-radish slaw on top, which you should do, because it adds yet another layer of excitement to the sandwich. For regular-sized sandwiches, make a reservation for one of the Fuku+ packages (it comes in XL and XXL sizes), which gives you and your crew a true fried chicken feast.
The Best Bites at Fuku+
So instead of the sandwiches at Fuku+ I tried the Fuku Bites with JD Sauce, which were basically the best chicken nuggets you can imagine, served with potent, garlicky green sauce for dipping. Less chickeny is the Salt & Pepper Shrimp, which are enormous and beautifully seasoned, though somewhat of a mess to eat. Don't forget to crunch right into the head, always the best part of these sorts of things. I also really enjoyed the Fuku+ Ranch Salad, though that's since been changed to a Wedge Salad, which I hear is also really good but is also likely to change again so just roll with it and get whatever salad's on the menu. And a couple of amazing-sounding things have already been added since opening day, including a must-get collaboration with Danny Bowien called Mission Chinese Fuku Fingers, and an off-menu Juicy Lucy burger, which basically means it has melted cheese inside the patty. Seems like a bunch of visits are going to be necessary over the fall to discover all of the Fuku+ delights.
For Menu and More Informatio on Fuku+
Fuku+ is located in the balcony area of Ma Peche, at 15 West 56th Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues. The restaurant is open daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. for lunch, and then again from 5:00 to 11:00 for dinner. The Fuku+ walk-in menu and reservation-only packages are available for both meals.