First Look: Chick & Meck
There’s more than just Korean fried chicken on the menu at this new restaurant on Ke‘eaumoku Street.
Chick & Meck on Ke‘eaumoku Street specializes in—what else?—Korean chicken.
Photos: James Charisma
In the spot that once held the likes of Nihao Chinese Restaurant and Red House on Ke‘eaumoku Street (you know the building; it’s the one across from McDonald’s, right at the edge of the sidewalk) comes a new eatery and bar: Chick & Meck, specializing in fried chicken, jeon (Korean-style pancake that we usually see spelled “jun,” as in meat jun, fish jun and so on) and alcohol.
But don’t let the terrifying clipart logo scare you away.
The restaurant logo says it all.
Find parking in the roundabout lot surrounding the building, or wherever else you can on Ke‘eaumoku Street, and step inside the brown, wood-accented restaurant. This place is really milking the chicken thing here; you’ll find comical chicken-related signs and novelty advertisements everywhere, plus a big 80-inch television blasting Asian music videos on loop. Fish tanks, too, for some reason.
Grab a seat at one of the 10 tables or at the bar, flip open the menu and take a look. The selection is straightforward: a page of chicken, a page of jun, a handful of assorted entrées including rib-eye steak, boiled pork belly and clam soup (all $24.95), plus a decent-size list of craft beers, liquor and soju.
Chick & Meck had its soft opening a few weeks ago—you can still see gifts of flower arrangements sent by nearby businesses and taxi companies placed along the windowsills, aww—and it’s a couple of weeks away from its grand opening, when the owners promise a selection of delicious house soju cocktails.
Chicken and jun are the stars of this menu. There are more than a dozen or so options to choose from for both. The jun is self-explanatory, with options that include meatballs, chives, shiitake mushroom and kim chee. The chicken selection is a little more mysterious with the options listed on the menu not the most descriptive: fried chicken, house special chicken, extra spicy stir fried chicken, good old barbecue chicken, and the list goes on. You’ll most likely need to call one of the friendly servers over to help you decide, but fortunately they’re all happy to go over the menu with you. Once you order, the servers bring over a medley of veggies in little bowls: chopped pickled daikon, chilled broccoli with Thousand Island dressing, and coleslaw with iceberg lettuce, mayo and corn. Tasty stuff.
I dragged a Korean friend with me to try Chick & Meck (to confirm authenticity) and we ordered two things. One was the combination jun ($24.95), which the server told us was a rotating selection of ingredients but usually included at least the fish, meatball, sesame leaf with stuffing, and stuffed hot chili pepper. The other was the house special chicken ($20.95), which we were assured was “very good.” Fair enough. My friend was also able to confirm the name of the restaurant: “Chick” for chicken, naturally, but the “Meck” is short for maekju, the Korean word for beer. So, Chicken & Beer.
The combination jun—called JEON here—boasts an assortment of deep-fried items including zucchini, tofu and meatballs.
The combination jun we ordered arrived first and we were not prepared for it. Nineteen items served on a big tray, our medley included the meatballs and fish that the server had warned us about, plus zucchini and tofu jun as well. We dug in.
The jun was spot-on. Not too much egg and not at all soggy, each of the different items was delicious, from the meaty pork stuffing found between both the sesame leaves and the (watch out) jalapeño peppers to the white fish, which was flaky but not dry.
The chicken arrived shortly after. Ten deep-fried pieces, strictly wingettes, served with either a ranch or honey-mustard house-made dipping sauce. I was greedy and asked for both, which the server was happy to oblige, and both were excellent. The chicken also came with a wallet-size package of hand wipes.
The house special chicken was more or less your basic Korean chicken—sweet and a little spicy. It was fried in a mochiko-style batter, which suited the sauce well, and the meat was juicy without being undercooked.
The chicken was great, but I was a little disappointed by the size and the price. All the marketing up to that point had led me to believe that I was ordering regular-size fried chicken—not wingettes. Sure, there were a couple of photos throughout the menu of smaller chicken bites, but usually a place that serves the smaller wingettes mentions that it’s got “wings” and not big drumsticks or thighs. And, at more than 20 bucks, I was hoping for way more than just 10 pieces.
But, in theory, you’re not visiting Chick & Meck for the best chicken and beer on the island; you’re here because it’s the best chicken and jun and beer on Ke‘eaumoku Street. This is the genius behind the approach. You’re curious about what this new, nice-looking restaurant is, so you go in. Or you’re making stops at all the bars on Ke‘eaumoku as part of a pub crawl and this is the only one serving Golden Road and Goose Island beers, so you go in. Or you want to split a plate of tasty chicken wings or really good meat jun with your friends while waiting for a seat at Sorabol, so you go in. There are about a dozen reasons to go to Chick & Meck if you’re in the Ke‘eaumoku area. But the logo’s not one of them.
Chick & Meck, 835 Ke‘eaumoku St., 955-5550