Global Cuisine

Short Stop: Late-Night Korean Fried Chicken at Funny Plus

Come with a group that likes to share.
Come with a group that likes to share. Molly Martin
Denver's dining scene is making a big post-pandemic comeback, and we're hungering to get back out. With so many new ventures and old favorites to visit after more than a year of restaurant shutdowns and restrictions, the choices can be overwhelming. So we're serving up Short Stop, with recommendations for things that should definitely be on your culinary short list. This week, head to Aurora for Korean fried chicken at Funny Plus.

What: Funny Plus

Where: 2779 South Parker Road, Aurora

When: Open 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday

For more info: Visit funnyplus.us

The place: Head around the corner of the building that holds H Mart in Aurora and you'll find a lineup of restaurants all worthy of a stop — chief among them Funny Plus. Not that you'll see that name on the sign above the door.

How do you know you're in the right place? Just follow the sound of pop music and the aroma of fried chicken and other meats being cooked on tabletop grills, and look for the "Welcome to Funny Plus" lettering on the inside wall.

I first heard about Funny Plus from friends who went on and on about the Korean fried chicken there — an infatuation likely prompted by the 2015 story by then-Westword food editor Mark Antonation. But that was six years and one global pandemic ago, and I'd not made the trek to Funny Plus since a pre-COVID Valentine's Day visit when I hit it up in hopes of avoiding the typical love-bird crowd (a strategy that worked very, very well).

The good news: Funny Plus is just as I remembered it, from the neon beer signs hanging in the windows to the simple black tables and chairs and the pop-music playlist. The even better news: It's open late, serving food past midnight every day except Sunday. And while an early-evening visit is likely to be relatively quiet, after 8 p.m. this place feels like a party.
click to enlarge The main event: Korean fried chicken. - MOLLY MARTIN
The main event: Korean fried chicken.
Molly Martin
What you're eating: Have I mentioned the Korean fried chicken? Even when I’ve come here fully intending to get something else, I end up with this on the table. For $20.99, you get a literal pile of legs and thighs (there were ten in the order this time).

Fried chicken generally breaks down into two categories: lightly coated with flour (or whatever starch the place is using), like the version at Welton Street Cafe, or coated in a thick, craggy crust like the one on the fried chicken sandwich at Lunchboxx, the new spot in Denver Central Market.

This chicken is neither, though. It almost leans toward battered, but I’ve never popped into the kitchen to check. It’s crisp but not exactly crunchy, a texture that has its own merits — though also the reason you should order it plain and not already coated in the sweet chile sauce that otherwise comes alongside. You should, however, be ready to dunk liberally.

Even if this is the only dish you order, it’ll come with a variety of banchan, small side dishes traditionally served with a Korean meal. On this visit, we got big cubes of pickled white radish that cut the sweetness of the chile sauce (and help alleviate the heat if you’ve ordered something spicy), cabbage kimchi, a tangle of dressed bean sprouts (kongnamool), fish cakes and my favorite, soy sauce-pickled onions with thinly sliced chiles.

Alongside, we got corn cheese, a Korean-American creation that is exactly what it sounds like: slightly caramelized corn kernels on a cast-iron serving dish heaped with melted mozzarella cheese. We also ordered dakgalbi (stir-fried chicken with rice cakes) from the hibachi section of the menu, which came on a giant serving tray that was placed over the tabletop burners. As it comes to a boil, the spicy sauce gets thicker and thicker, and the pieces of chicken, sliced cabbage and wide, springy, tubular rice cakes touching the bottom of the tray get a bit more color (read: more flavor).

One day I’ll explore the stews and hot pots, but for now, the Korean fried chicken with a side of late-night party atmosphere is still my number-one reason to make a stop at Funny Plus.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin