If you've been missing Bonchon, you might want to let that lament go; no trace of the excellent Korean-fried chicken joint remains. Bonchon closed about three weeks ago, after a short-lived existence on Greenville Avenue. The owners said revenue hadn't been what they expected.
For their new concept, they gave the face a minimal face-lift. The greasy sheen that was ever-present on the floor during the Bonchon days is gone, and some brick work has been added behind the bar. There's a patio space now, complete with two sets of cornhole decks but hardly enough room for anyone to use them. They face each other in a bed of mulch, maybe 20 feet apart from each other and tightly packed side-to-side.
Inside, the layout hasn't changed at all, and the same booths and tables remain. The wide-screen TVs hanging in every direction are still there, too, but the menu has received a complete overhaul.
Appetizers include the El Diablo, which are chicken fingers stuffed with cheese and jalapeños and wrapped in bacon. There are chips and salsa, chips and guacamole, chips and queso and if you're feeling it, chips served with all three at once.
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Ashwood serves a number of burgers that are just shy of a half-pound. The beef is not ground on site and the patties are pretty tightly packed, so be warned -- these burgers won't flood your plate when you take that first bite. They come topped with everything from jalapeños (there are a lot of jalapeños) to blue cheese sauce to onion strings.
As for the wings, I find it hard to contain my sadness. When I talked to Wyatt Hurt, a consultant that was helping to rework the place, he mentioned the Korean-fried wings were going to remain. They might change a little (Bonchon is no longer affiliated) but they'd be close, he told me.
They aren't close at all.
The wings are now your standard, Buffalo-style rendition, available doused in a number of different sauces. I tried them in medium and hot and got a small cup of "south of hell" on the side. The hottest has some kick but it won't torch you. They're also served with celery and baby carrots. It's nice to have another sports bar, I guess, but I found the original Bonchon infinitely more compelling.