Pizza & Chicken Love Letter - Irvine
Pizza & Chicken Love Letter, the Korean fried chicken and pizza chain (yes, there is such a thing as Korean pizza) has one of the awesomest restaurant names in the whole of Orange County, if not, the world. And now, Irvine has one. It is, of course, located in the most Asian-y (that's not a word, I know) complexes in Irvine, Diamond Jamboree.
But before you shout "YOU LIE!", I can assure you I speak the truth.
Nevertheless, I can understand your disbelief. Even if you've staked out the plaza from the parking lot, walked it foot-by-foot, or stood in the forever-line at 85°C Bakery Café, you couldn't have seen this place coming.
It's not even hidden in plain sight. It is just hidden. Hidden inside the H-Mart supermarket, which itself is laid out in a confusing labyrinthine maze worthy of Ikea.
Pizza & Chicken Love Letter is at the very end of the store, next to the restrooms, at an unremarkable booth, existing as almost an afterthought.
Here's how unassuming it was: I was sitting right in front of it and I didn't realize what I was looking at while I perused the menu marquee.
"Hmm...that's interesting, this place serves Korean pizza and fried chicken like that Love Letter place I've head about in Garden Gro...heeeeyyy, waaaaait a minuuuuuuuttttte!!!!!"
The realization, of course, was followed with a scramble to order something. I took the easiest, most accessible item: the 6-piece fried wings for $4.99. With it came unexpected and complimentary sides that included a plate of shredded cabbage, which became a coleslaw the second they drizzled on thousand island, and a salad when they added corn kernels.
But the complimentary extras didn't end there. Pickled radish -- the customary accompaniment to Korean fried chicken -- came brimming in a generous bowl. Kyochon in Stanton, it must be noted, charges a buck per serving. Love Letter's, however, bit more sharply and were less soothingly sweet than Kyochon's.
While I'm making comparisons to Kyochon, I'll talk about the wings I chose. They were the base model, without the upgrades that could've gotten them glazed in a spicy sauce or honey, which I believe are standard at Kyochon.
Regardless, it was well-cooked, gilded with just a barely-there covering of batter, which allowed the subcutaneous fat to melt off, transforming floppy skin to a thin crispness: the most coveted part of all Korean fried chickens.
The meat beneath, however, was surprisingly flavorless, which was probably why they included a cute oval thimble of peppered salt for dipping.
Forget about trying to fit the wings in them though. To say that they were humongous is still understating it. Judging by the wingspan of the things, these mutant hens could've gone against a condor in a welterweight match-up. Either that or someone had finally had enough of Foghorn Leghorn's snark.
But wait, how's the pizza, you ask? I don't know. This post wasn't so much a review as it was a "preview". I tried only one dish, after all. So I am not yet ready to grab the mike and proclaim that Pizza & Chicken Love Letter has the best music video of all time....I mean, pizza.
It does, however, still has the best name.
Pizza & Chicken Love Letter
2600 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606
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