En Hakkore Wings

According to the Bible, Samson killed a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone. And as one is after slaying an army with a mule’s mandible, Samson was pretty tired and thirsty. So he prayed that his powers would be restored. As the story goes, his cries were answered with a spring, where he quenched his thirst, regained his power and went on to rule Israel for 20 years.

Still following? This is important because that spring where Samson discovered his newfound power was called En-Hakkore. In 2013, Peter and Faith Park opened a restaurant in Bucktown named En Hakkore, hoping their food could offer restorative comfort to patrons. It did. So many folks gobbled down the signature paratha tacos and bibimbap that the Parks were inspired to open En Hakkore 2.0 in Wicker Park a few weeks ago.

While the “2.0” is a nice touch, using software naming convention isn’t particularly apt. It suggests gradual changes, you see, and En Hakkore 2.0 is a full evolution. Its menu—rife with hot pots, Korean seafood pancakes and mini-football-sized sushi burritos—is completely different from the original restaurant.

“There were a lot of things I wanted to do at the first place, but the kitchen was small. I didn’t have the room,” Peter Park said.

Before visiting, I didn’t really believe the world needed sushi burritos. I was wrong. After eating Park’s ethereally light Crunch sushi burrito ($12) stuffed with shrimp tempura, unagi, cream cheese, sweet potato, cucumber, lettuce and plum guacamole, I’m questioning the woefully inefficient tradition of eating eight pieces of maki when you can simply wolf down one gigantic handheld roll.

But this isn’t about frou-frou modern conveniences. This is about the restorative powers of food. If that’s what you’re after, an order of honey garlic butter K-Wings is what you want. These aren’t the dinky chicken scraps you’ll find at other wing-slinging chains; they’re Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-sized bites. The massive hunks of poultry are deep-fried and lacquered with a golden, sweet glaze and waft enough garlic to kill every character on your favorite vampire-centric TV show.

Despite the lack of Wet-Naps, I plowed through all six wings and licked the sticky residue from my fingers with abandon. As I walked out, I felt like I could fight off an army of MMA cage fighters with a single chicken wing bone. OK, maybe not, but damn if I wasn’t satisfied.

Worth a trip: Honey garlic butter K-Wings ($10) at En Hakkore 2.0
1467 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-278-5959

This article first appeared in Redeye Chicago in a different form.

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