Cross Street has fascinated me since I first noticed that Your Story was closed back in June. I'd heard that the place was going to do KFC....you know K(orean) F(ried) C(hicken), which was confirmed by Eater a few weeks later.
While driving by last week, I noticed that the place looked open. I sent a text to "YummyYummy" who through her connections verified that they were in "Pre-soft" (???) Opening mode. Soon enough, "YY" and "Xiāng Jiāo" and I decided to meet up.
The place is dressed up in the very modern; industrial style that is popular these days. Lot's of staff on hand....super friendly young folks. This being "before" the soft opening, I expected some mishaps, but there were none. Some scrambling, but these folks seem up to the task.
The menu is mostly made up of fried foods, with Chicken Wings (of course) being the focus. It's basically $11 for 6 wings prepared in one of six "styles".
But first that popular Korean drinking snack, Corn Cheese ($8).
These were pretty dull for corn cheese, not enough cheese, the corn not sweet enough.
And some Beer Battered Fries ($6), which I found to be ok.
I thought these could have been more crisp and the fries got soggy fairly quickly.
So, what about those wings. Well, before folks freak out about the $11 for six wings thing; I'll say this, the wings are pretty large, in my opinion too large as I prefer a small to medium size wing....better skin to ratio. The wings were good quality; tender meat, juicy, no broken bones, no off colors.
I was told these were the "signature" wings, but though while it had enough salt, it needed some zing. The wings are so large that I think the double fry method doesn't work as much magic here as all of the fat under the skin did not render down all the way and the batter got soft rather quickly. This was the only wings we had that were served with a "salad" rather than the traditional mul kimchi....which would have done good in this case.
Salt and Pepper.....
Royal Mandarin, Mandarin Canton, and the rest have nothing to worry about for now as again the coating didn't hold out too long. It also wasn't very light and crisp on this version. The flavor was very mild for S&P wings and was a bit greasy as well.
Here's the classic, very typical, sticky, Spicy Korean style wings you get at many places.
I expected a bit more heat, but we were told that they were worried about it being too hot and scaring away the non-Korean customers. It was sweet and sticky. This got soggy really quickly and the young man who I think is one of the owners really apologized about that and tried to take it off the bill. But that's not our style.....hey, they're not even in Soft Opening mode!
I thought the best wings we had was the Soy Garlic.....
While on the mild side with regards to garlic flavor; it wasn't too sweet, had a decent bit of saltiness, the batter was a bit thick, but held up the best of all the wings. This ain't no Kyochon, but I'd take this over "BBQ Chicken" and Gala.
The owners were very nice and gracious....they asked us our opinion....usually we'd balk, but this time we were very honest. We were thanked for our opinion and told to please return because they're hoping to "get better every day"! There was such sincerity in that declaration, that having to run some errands for the Missus, I returned the very next day.....
This time around I had Max Cream, an all malt beer, brewed by Hite. This wasn't too sweet, very light, unobtrusive, slightly winey (cat pee), easy to drink.
I actually ordered way too much food, but really enjoyed myself.
Starting with the Fried Pickle Spears ($8).
While I thought the breading was really hard; I really enjoyed the tart-sour of the pickles....it really got my attention; especially when I took a big first bite.
The Beer Battered Fries were better this time around.
Staying nice and crisp.
I ordered the Original Wings again.
While the flavor was still rather plain and the wings didn't quite have that signature light crispness of good KFC; in terms of keeping a nice crunchiness throughout the meal; this was much better.
As were the Soy Garlic wings.
A bit more garlic; lighter crisper coating that held out well, this was much better than the previous day. They just need to get a handle on rendering out a bit more fat and I think this is a keeper.
I like these folks, I hope they do well. Though I'll wait until or maybe after their upcoming Soft Opening.
Cross Street Chicken and Beer
4403 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111