Updated May 24, 2022

Like most of America, one of Edmonds restaurateur Shubert Ho’s favorite foods is fried chicken. His Bar Dojo executive chef Luis Brambila does it right, combining the best of both worlds — Southern and Korean style — for a unique Asian-fusion twist.

“The best chicken deal in the Sound belongs to this Asian fusion bistro…”

“No one was making fried chicken the way we would,” Brambila says. “One of owner Shubert Ho’s favorite foods is fried chicken, so I wanted to throw down the gauntlet and make it better than he would.”

Bar Dojo’s fried chicken special, family style — highlighted last spring for Seattle Restaurant Week — hits every note, juicy, crispy, savory, spicy, and, wholesome.

“Our blend of marinade and spices, locally-sourced ingredients, organic Draper Valley Farms chicken, with the time it takes to do it right, began as a simple Sunday Football Fried Chicken Special during a pandemic,” Brambila explains, “but quickly sold out days in advance each week.”

The dinner special Seattle Times food critic Tan Vinh praised as the “best chicken deal in the Sound [Oct. 28, 2020],” comes equipped with eight pieces of brined, “garlicky hot sauce”-marinated, well-seasoned crispy, juicy fried chicken — a delicious, delightful cross between traditional Southern and Asian-fusion.

Bar Dojo’s fried chicken stays crispy, even 30 minutes after pick-up, according to Vinh.

The stand-alone sides are worth the trip, and worth every penny. They’re “our typical eclectic mix,” Brambila describes, “grilled onion mashed potatoes, kim chi mac and cheese, and Bar Dojo avocado rice with fresh The Cottage, Community Bakery brioche buns.”

Executive Chef Brambila’s been with Ho since their Epulo Bistro days in 2009-2010, moving on to Salt & Iron, and adding his own Latin flair to Bar Dojo’s Asian-forward fusion.

He’s playing with even more Asian-inspired fried chicken ideas, perhaps a “spicy and sweet, sour option. “I did a trial on some sticky Gochujang chicken wings and they’re so delicious; they are hitting the menu soon.”

“To maintain the consistency and culture that builds guest confidence, the team at each Ezell’s location takes pride in marinating, breading, and battering their fried chicken to perfection, making our beloved fresh-baked rolls from scratch and homemade side dishes daily.”

Thanks to Oprah Winfrey, Ezell’s Famous Chicken is known and beloved the world over as the fried chicken standard.

Ezell’s represents the deep, rich, comforting soul food of the South, as well as Southern hospitality, down to the bone, from the generous portions (check out the wings!), delectable, down-home sides and snacks, and community outreach, to the star of the show, the reason we’re here, salivating.

A local, family-owned and -operated NW chain with 16 locations, including Edmonds, Ezell’s does away with quick fixes and shortcuts typical of other impersonal restaurant chains. Their Southern fried chicken and sides are scratch-made with tender, loving care, from their family to yours. Their chicken is also bigger, fresh and of high quality, marinated and seasoned for maximum flavor.

“To maintain the consistency and culture that builds guest confidence, the team at each Ezell’s location takes pride in marinating, breading, and battering their fried chicken to perfection, making our beloved, fresh-baked rolls from scratch and homemade side dishes daily,” explains Lewis Rudd, president/co-founder of Ezell's Famous Chicken.

The menu features original, spicy, and half & half selections, served with dipping sauces and those beloved, fresh-baked rolls, authentic Southern sides (slow-baked BBQ beans, Heritage mac & cheese, creamy slaw), snacks and specialties (fried okra, fresh gizzards, Cajun/crinkle fries), and peach cobbler or sweet potato pie for dessert. Kids will flip over the chicken tenders, Buffalo tenders for the chili heads.

Everything’s bigger at Ezell’s, including the 3-lb. chickens and extra-large wings.

Ezell’s also fries their chicken in 100 percent pure vegetable oil, serving them in eight generous pieces, instead of the usual nine.

Spicy fried chicken gets the full New Orleans treatment, marinating for 24 hours, with a touch of cayenne in the breading, layering in complex heat.

The first Ezell’s opened in 1984 across the street from Garfield High School in Seattle’s Central District, and quickly grew to 15 locations, including one in Tigard, OR, plus food trucks, and catering.

Ezell’s is a family affair, born in east Texas, where co-owner Rudd and his family originally hailed from. When they moved to Seattle, they saw themselves sharing the kind of finger-lickin’-good fried chicken they loved growing up in the heart of the South.

“Best fried chicken I’ve had in my life.”

Teriyaki & More (old Yummy Teriyaki & Korean Chicken) on Edmonds Way recently opened to rave reviews.

Besides chicken teriyaki and all its standout friends (kal bi beef short ribs, yakisoba, fried rice, chicken katsu), Teriyaki & More turns out proper Korean fried chicken, crunchy and juicy in all the right places, providing the biggest bang for your buck.

Gabe Rowe left the kind of five-star Google review restauranteurs only dream about, coming from plenty of experience: "My mother and I frequent many teriyaki places since I was kid, having grown up in North Seattle and this is our go-to. Great chicken, not rubbery, charred just right, thick sauce, sweet and savory. Their rice is cooked perfectly, you don't have half your rice stuck to the box. My 12-year-old son wanted to try their Korean fried chicken, so we gave that a shot and were not disappointed. Six drumsticks and four wings for around $15. Huge pieces of crispy garlic and soy-fried chicken! Needless to say, it was all devoured and was so good, definitely a solid choice with anything from this lovely spot. The shop itself is clean and inviting, cozy and comfortable, either for dining in or waiting on your order. Easily five stars for every aspect. Trying their Katsu Curry Chicken and fish ball appetizer today, so I will be adding to this review, though I am sure it will be delicious."

“From Korea to the Bay Area, A Taste of Korean Chicken”

The first thing you notice about Vons Chicken — a Korea-to-Bay-Area chain that reached our Edmonds shores recently — is the overwhelming menu. There must be a hundred items extolling the virtues of Korean fried chicken.

Just about.

Oven-baked or fried. Naked or sauced. Crunchy or crispy. Half or full. Crispy Padak or Yangnyeom. Honey butter, cheddar, or garlic. Soy and black vinegar, Vons Special sauce, Red Burn.

Starters and sides, too?!

What a fantastic excuse to come back. A lot.

The new Vons is located in Edmonds’ International District (at 99 Ranch Market), where all adventurous foodies go to find their thrills.

Generous portions, reasonable prices, consistent quality, fresh taste.

Hwajun Jung’s translated Google review: “The chicken doesn’t smell strange and it tastes fresh. It’s the best chicken I've ever eaten in America.”

Sounds about right.

  • Bar Dojo: 8404 Bowdoin Way, Edmonds, 425-967-7267
  • Ezell’s Edmonds: 22019 Hwy. 99, Ste. 130, 425-670-1450
  • Teriyaki & More: 9808 Edmonds Way, 425-771-9337
  • Vons: International District, 22511 Hwy. 99, 425-582-8723

Photo Credits:
Featured Bar Dojo photo c/o Madi Ingham.
Ezell's photo c/o Melissa Broussard.