Rice Balls at TKettle, Still no Action at BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken, the Korean fried chicken chain, remains dark at the Saint Marks location. When we asked Andy Pan, who owns TKettle and has "partnered" with BBQ Chicken at this joint location, about it on Friday, all he could say was "It's killing me softly." Seriously, that's what he said. The space, which, you may recall, was formerly dirty, dirty Dojo, still hasn't gotten the OK from the building inspector to have Con Edison install the gas. The details of the plumbing problem are a mystery to us, but Pan assured us the place will open. We'll continue to check in and keep you posted...

But the difficulties on the left side of the shop, which are clearly weighing on Pan, could be something of a blessing in disguise. The lack of chicken forced him to get a little creative and add food to the menu at TKettle, his bubble tea shop, which occupies the right side of the space. Of course, that's why we got the fantastic dumplings from the dumpling lady of Queens.

Now Pan has added sweet, mochi-like rice balls to the menu, which we gladly sampled the other day. The balls are Japanese, and not the work of Sun Le, the aforementioned dumpling master. But they're delicious nonetheless. An order of five rice balls costs $3.25 and consists of a combination of warm black sesame- and peanut-filled balls, encased in a chewy rice dough. We liked them both, but the peanut was especially good—salty, crumbly, and sweet. TKettle is open till 1AM, and we can easily imagine stopping in for an after-dinner sugar rush.

TKettle 26 Saint Marks Place (212) 982-9782

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