Tucked in a corner of a plaza in Chandler is a fairly new Korean restaurant that used to inhabit Chino Bandido, a local favorite. Crazy Chicken & Crab took over and officially opened in January earlier this year. Their goal? To make Korean fried chicken your new favorite style of fried chicken.
Located in the corner of Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road, the restaurant is not very obvious from the main roads, but GPS apps were able to lead me right to the restaurant. It was funny to see remnants of the prior restaurant’s décor, such as the statue of a sombrero-wearing panda, still taking residence near the entrance. Additionally, there is a cute mural of a rock ‘n’ roll chicken and crab band painted on one of the walls inside that I found particularly amusing. As you enter, you will quickly notice how spacious the restaurant is and the ample parking behind the building. So if you are thinking of bringing a group, Crazy Chicken can definitely accommodate.
During both of my visits, server Minjoo was diligent and knowledgeable about the menu. She explained that the owner/chef is her godfather and although this is his first restaurant, he has been working in kitchens and restaurants through Korea and the United States since he was a teenager. Minjoo is from the same town of Daegu, South Korea as the owner and she is quite passionate in wanting to help his business succeed.
The idea of serving Korean fried chicken was because of chef’s desire to introduce the bold, saucy flavors and popular cuisine of his native region of Korea to the community. From what Minjoo explained, fried chicken in Korea is consumed in social settings with good beer, friends and family, and maybe live music and karaoke on a Friday night. With Crazy Chicken & Crab just receiving their liquor license, you can enjoy a variety of Korean and American beers, soju (a Korean distilled spirit, similar to vodka from my experience), and Korean wines with your meal. However, you will have to keep your vocals on standby as the restaurant is still looking into purchasing a quality karaoke machine.
Now to the chicken: walking through the menu may be a little confusing at first, as it was hard to understand the difference between the nine listed fried chicken options without having it explained to me. Unlike ordering fried chicken by the number of pieces, your options will be for a whole order (one whole chicken, chopped into their standard leg/breast/wing pieces and serves about 3-4 people) or a half order (half of a chicken and serves about 2-3 people). Each piece of chicken is twice-fried to give it a nice crunch and then tossed in a sauce of your choice (or without sauce if you prefer, but you would be missing out quite honestly). There is a sweet glaze, a garlic soy sauce, and a honey butter garlic to choose from. The sweet, sticky, bright red glaze is a gochujang based sauce and personally my favorite of all the options. You can order it with your preferred spice level: sweet & mild, sweet & spicy, or extremely spicy. The sweet & spicy has quite a kick in and of itself so I have not had the galls to try the extremely spicy option yet. If anyone does try it, please let me know!
There is also an option for padak chicken, which is the gochujang glazed chicken however the difference is that the padak style comes with a mountain of julienned green onions and padak sauce for dipping on the side. What is padak sauce you ask? For one, it is now my favorite condiment to go along with their chicken. Specifically, padak sauce is a blend of garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon & wasabi and a surefire way to clear your sinuses!
Let’s also not forget the second half of the restaurant’s name, the crab! When ordering the Dungeness crab, you will be charged by the pound based on market price. You can expect each order to be at least one pound. The presentation and serving of the crab is unlike any way I have eaten crab before. First, it comes to the table steamed whole with a side of steamed white rice, a two kinds of Korean sauces, sesame oil, and butter. Your server will use kitchen shears to open it up tableside, extracting the meat from the body of the crab and mixing it with the rice, sauces and oil in the shell for the table to enjoy with the crab legs. Although it is a process and perhaps not the most attractive of dishes, it was a delicious experience that I consider worth trying.
On my second visit, Minjoo offered a list of new menu items. For those looking for a quick meal or something other than their main fried chicken, this new menu offers a few ramen selections and some chicken katsu options as a combo that comes with steamed rice, a side salad, and a drink. The chicken curry rice is a katsu fried chicken breast with a Korean-style yellow curry of carrots and potatoes smothered on top. The curry flavor was bold but not overwhelming and the chicken katsu underneath was thoroughly crunchy, tender and juicy.
With the preparation involved in their cooking, each of my visits required some patience with the fried chicken and crab options. I suggest guests go in with the expectation of enjoying an unrushed, relaxing meal with a group. However, the restaurant does offer to-go if you plan to call-in your order ahead, which could be a great option if you’re pressed for time.
From the best of my knowledge, this is the first and only Korean fried chicken restaurant in the Phoenix metro area. I know the sweet & spicy gochujang glazed fried chicken keeps me coming back for more and I encourage anyone looking to try a different kind of fried chicken to stop by Crazy Chicken & Crab to have a taste for themselves!
For more information and updates about the restaurant, you can follow them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/crazychickenandcrab
Crazy Chicken & Crab