Since its grand opening on Grand St. in September, Williamsburg’s Korean fried chicken joint Mahji has been breaking the barrier between upscale bar atmosphere and the ability to stuff your face with drumsticks in public.
The hyper-curated menu offers soy garlic or spicy glazed chicken in the form of boneless breast strips (tendies, essentially), wings, drum sticks, or combo drum sticks & wings. There’s also a lone salad option, a variety of sides (dumplings! Korean pancakes! Kimchi fried rice! Korean rice-ball!) and two alternative main course options: a Kimchi quesadilla and stone bowl bibimbap (“tempered vegetables on a bed of sizzling rice served in a heated stone bowl topped with an egg and Gochujang sauce”).
Which chicken sauce you choose should be easy, as the soy garlic is significantly milder than the spicy glazed and a prime choice for those unprepared for the serious bite of the latter option. It’s not, like, unpleasant, nose-runningly hot, but especially by New York standards the spicy glazed option definitely qualifies as Spicy.
A medium portion of any meat type should be a sufficient meal for most. The combo dish is definitely the best bang for your buck in terms of quantity of food, and the strips were not nearly as hearty as the wings or legs (although they’re boneless, if that’s your type).
While the spicy glazed chicken steal the show, the dumplings are no laughing matter. Perfectly crisp and not overly rich, they were truly delicious and served with a vinegar-heavy dipping sauce. Only forks, no chopsticks, were provided.
The drinks menu was impressive, with an extensive array of Soju, six signature cocktails – including a a Zebulon, consisting of Broker’s Gin, St. Germain, Yuzu and cucumber with jalepeño – as well as 11 beers options (it is a beer book bar, after all) and a McKenize’s Black Cherry Cider (so very sweet).
The atmosphere was relaxed, the hungry and thirsty masses strolling in wearing everything from suits to jeggings to jerseys, making their ways to the bar or a table and taking part in that age-old custom of consuming large quantities of the ever-delicious delicacy that is fried chicken.