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February 14, 2024updated Feb 20, 2024

Coqodaq is Making Fried Chicken Fancy

Restaurant of the Week: American and Korean fried chicken cultures collide at Gracious Hospitality Management's latest opening.

By Kim Ayling

In the world of food, some combinations make perfect sense. Salt and vinegar, for example. Bread and butter is another no brainer. Apple and cinnamon maybe, if you’re after something sweet. At Coqodaq – a new opening in the heart of NYC’s Flatiron – fried chicken and caviar is the latest combo edging its way into the world.

Brought to you by Gracious Hospitality Management (which counts Michelin-starred COTE Korean Steakhouse in its portfolio) and led by restauranter Simon Kim, Coqodaq is in inspired by the parallel fried chicken cultures in both America and Korea and deftly blends them to create a dining experience currently not on offer in NYC.

Coqodaq embraces a move away from overly serious fine dining and instead merges two core ingredients it knows people love to create a fun, daring restaurant experience. “Over the past four years, my leadership team — executive chef Seung Kyu Kim and president Dexter Zimet — and I have been visualizing and obsessing over bringing this new concept to life,” says Kim. 

“We spared no effort, leaving no stone unturned, when starting our journey towards creating better fried chicken. Now, we’re excited to have the world join us on this journey.”

[See also: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024]

coqodaq restaurant interiors
High-top seats are reserved for walk ins / ©Jason Varney for Rockwell Group

Chef

The concept of Coqodaq was conceived by Seoul-born Simon Kim, CEO and founder of Gracious Hospitality Management, who first rose to prominence with the opening of COTE in 2017 – a restaurant that went down not only as NYC’s first Korean steakhouse but also the world’s only Michelin-starred Korean tabletop grill restaurant.

Heading up the kitchen is executive chef Seung Kyu (SK) Kim, who joined the mission with over ten years experience working under Jean-George Vongerichten at his restaurants, Jean-George and Nougatine, as well as a stint as corporate chef at COTE.

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Menu

the bucket list at coqodaq
The Bucket List / ©Coqodaq

You know what to expect: chicken and caviar. But, Coqodaq’s menu is far more thoughtful than the concept initially lets on. The restaurant is committed to making a fast-food favorite sustainable and has carefully selected only the most considerate suppliers – the chicken you’ll eat here is certified hormone and antibiotic-free and has been reared fully free-range.

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Amazingly, Kim has even managed to make his fried chicken with something close to health in mind. The meat is coated in a rice-flour blend (chosen for retaining up to 60% less than fat) and is clean-fried in Zero Acre oil, known to be healthier than olive, seed and avocado oil.

But, the most important question: how does it taste? Good, you’d think. Kick things off with the Golden Nugget – a brilliantly decadent take on our favorite cheat food: crispy chicken nuggets, topped with Golden Daurenki caviar.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in New York]

golden nugget with caviar at coqodaq
Crispy chicken nuggets, topped with Golden Daurenki caviar / ©Evan Sung

Coqodaq’s star of the show is The Bucket List – a chicken bucket (look away Colonel Sanders) with two types of chicken, original and soy sauce garlic glaze; a chicken and ginseng consommé; a selection of ban-chan (pickled vegetables); cold noodles; and frozen yogurt to finish. 

“Our goal from the start was not to create a perfect recipe, as that doesn’t exist, but to spark joy and connection through delicious food and beverages,” says Kim. “I wanted to elevate every aspect of this nostalgic dish, offering a unique dining experience that proudly showcases the harmony of Korean and American cultures.”

Alongside the signature Bucket List are a number of sides, each of which neatly blend American and Korean cuisine culture – from mac and cheese with chili oil to double-fried French fries. Amazingly, The Bucket List is only $38 per person. But if you want to drop a lot more on dinner, you won’t struggle – the classic caviar service is asking up to $870 per tin.

Drinks form a core part of Coqodaq’s offering too, boasting the largest restaurant champagne list in the country. A posh twist on the Korean tradition of pairing fried chicken with beer, the effervescence of champagne is said to cut through chicken’s richness perfectly.

[See also: New York Michelin Guide 2023: 12 New Stars Awarded]

bar at coqodq
Glamorous, OTT and sexy – Coqodaq has gone all out on interiors / ©Jason Varney for Rockwell Group

Interiors

Glamorous, OTT and sexy – Coqodaq has gone all out on interiors. Brought to life by the Rockwell Group, the restaurant first welcomes guests with a novel handwashing station, intended to not only promote cleanliness but also turn a dining experience here into a sensory journey.

The dining room itself blends American and Korean influences, with a deep color scheme of emerald green and dark walnut wood carefully highlighted with bronze and mirror accents.

Seating is spread across communal high tops, reserved for walk-ins, and intimate banquette booths toward the back of the restaurant. Each seat is set to be a coveted one as word about Coqodaq spreads.

[See also: Hakubai Opens at The Prince Kitano New York]

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