For good wings, go Nekkid

For good wings, go Nekkid

by J. Nellwyn Robbins & Roberto Hernandez
Groove Korea Magazine

Walking up the electric yellow steps to Nekkid Wings, the first impression felt is quirky and fun. Upon entering, it’s a continuum of the simplistic and modern aesthetic with industrial chandeliers and other urban accents, and the friendly staff is eager to seat you immediately.

The menu is well-designed and even color-coded for the wing sauce spice levels. Ten wings and two sauces cost 11,900 won, but for the sake of writing a detailed review, we received four. The sauces (from least to most spicy) were: Parmesan Garlic, Honey Butter, Smokehouse, Korean Glaze, Classic Buffalo, Amazinger, Jerk, and Asian Chili. Sauceless wings are also available. We ranged the eight-sauce spectrum, settling with: Parmesan Garlic, Classic Buffalo, Amazinger, and Asian Chili.

When we asked our waiter to recommend something else, he immediately suggested burgers, saying Nekkid aims to bring their burgers to the same forefront as their wings. Our waiter suggested the “Deluxe” and a complimenting Gorilla IPA. We conceded to his expertise and sat back, waiting for the food to arrive.

It wasn’t a long wait. Two minutes for beer and under fifteen for food, we received a platter of wings, a Deluxe burger lunch special, and a plethora of clean-eating utensils, including an amusing pair of lobster claw gloves for your thumb and index finger to mitigate sauce mayhem.

We started with the burger. On the menu, the Deluxe reads “Chicken breast, brioche bun, cheddar cheese, fresh tomato, romaine, onion, sweet pickle chips, ranch, and one sauce (side) of your choice.” The burger was flavorful, with all components complementing one another. Rob pointed out that the moisture of the chicken was perfect, which was impressive considering that it was an entire breast that had been breaded and fried. When we inquired about the technique, we were informed that the chicken had been brined for 24 hours prior to being served, which shows the attention-to-detail Nekkid pays its cuisine.

We tried the Korean Glaze sauce on the burger and it was superb. Immediately you get a taste reminiscent of a galbi restaurant. The soybean flavor was delicate but nostalgic nonetheless and complementary to the other flavors in the burger, bringing out a symphony of taste. The burger alone costs 7,900 won, but the “lunch special” rate of 10,000 won, gets you a side of fries and soda. The fries were crispy and delicious enough to eat on their own rather than dipping in a sauce or ketchup – but we still indulged and enjoyed both.

Next came the wings. Starting with the Parmesan Garlic, there was a wonderful balance between the two leading ingredients. It’s easy for garlic to overpower other flavors, but the parmesan tasted full and sharp, and a bite of pepper lingered in the mouth after the taste.

Moving forward, we had the Classic Buffalo wings – with real blue cheese. The blue cheese had the sharp bite and tang you get from quality. The two-flavor combination was wonderful.

After came the Amazinger. It’s a signature Nekkid sauce with ginger hints. The honey was subtle but added to the flavors, bringing out an appreciated richness in the sauce.

Finally, came the toughest menu wings: Asian Chili. Nekkid describes the sauce as: “Madly addictive bold and spicy flavor from Southeast Asia. Beware the heat!” Bracing ourselves, we took a bite – and the flavor explosion was splendid! Spicy sauces often burn away the ability to taste flavor combinations, but not Nekkid’s. The citrus complimented the chili, and while the heat from the wings came later, it wasn’t unbearable – even to someone with a low spice tolerance.

After finishing, we met Chief Executive Officer Saehm Lee to talk about the new branch and his views on Nekkid. The Sangsu branch opened on April 13, and so far things are going well.

“But it’s not all about the money,” he said. He pointed to the video playing on a flat screen that featured a charity event Nekkid hosted previously to donate to orphanages in Seoul. It’s important to Nekkid to give to others. They host quarterly charity events, and their next one will be in June.

In the menu is a message about Nekkid’s mission.

“We wanted something unique and original. Not only did we want our name to represent the food we serve, but we also wanted to convey what kind of place we want to be for the diners. We wanted people to come, shed their stress at the end of the day, and have a good time – so we came up with the name, Nekkid.

“Our core values are ambition, belonging, and consistency. We put emphasis on relationship, taste, and quality of the food we make, consistency, and the culture we create.”

The true authenticity of this restaurant, staff, and food is not to be missed. From the genuine desire to create delicious food, to the eagerness of helping their patrons unwind, enjoy themselves, and experience great cuisine, Nekkid is the place to go.

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