My original plan for lunch today was to meet some fellow food bloggers at Tempo Doeloe, but the timing stars did not align, so I was forced to regroup. Since I was on my own and already contemplating Asian food, I headed toward Assi Plaza on Old Peachtree Road to see what I might find. Driving through the parking lot, I saw CheoGaJip and thought “what the heck.”
Walking in, I was faced with (really) high backed booths lining both walls and a counter fronting the kitchen in the back right corner. It turns out that CheoGaJip is a franchise of a Korean chain of fried chicken and pizza restaurants. Who knew there was such a thing?
The menu is predominantly picture based and features: whole, half and quarter fried chickens; wings and popcorn chicken (thighs cut into bite size pieces); and pizzas. The chicken is available with four sauce choices ranging from “sweet and mild” to “very hot”. I originally ordered popcorn chicken, thinking it would be less messy, but the owner / cashier (whose English was infinitely better than my Korean) came to the table and told me they were out of the popcorn, so I reverted to wings – half sweet and mild and half at level three.
While I waited (and since it is apparently cooked to order, I waited a while ), I took in my surroundings. The only other diners were five twenty-something women carrying on a loud and lively conversation in Korean while eating pizza and wings. The tv was on a Korean channel playing a show involving two men taking their kids out chestnut (the cashier thinks they were chestnuts) hunting (while wearing pots and pans strapped onto their head with strips of cloth) and lots of sound effects. It made me wish I could understand what was being said, or that I could read the subtitles (which appeared to be in another Asian language). All of the signs on the wall were predominantly in Korean – I can see why one of the reviews I found on Yelp recommended going with a friend who spoke the language (or renting someone who did <g>).
Right before the chicken arrived, the cashier delivered a bowl of cabbage salad (ban chan) and a bowl of pickled radishes. Neither of those had much chance of being touched. Then the chicken showed up.
The left half is mild, the right spicy. Note the cool tin foil divider! Both sauces were heavy on garlic and sesame seeds. The spicy option just added peppers. The batter on the chicken was thicker than on most chicken wings, like a tempura batter.
When I asked what kind of peppers / chiles were used to add the heat, the best we could communicate between us was “little Korean hot peppers”. They definitely added the spice. They resembled American hot wings in name but minimally in the taste department. I don’t know that I’ll rush back, but they are (according to other reviews) among the best Korean chicken wings in Atlanta, if you’re looking for such a thing.
For what it’s worth, there may be some tie to a place called Love Letter Chicken and Pizza in a Johns Creek, as some of the signage referenced that name.