When Bonchon Chicken opened in the Dublin area just over a month ago, its reputation preceded it via accolades from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire Magazine and celebrity dining personality Anthony Bourdain. All this for a fried chicken chain.

When Bonchon Chicken opened in the Dublin area just over a month ago, its reputation preceded it via accolades from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire Magazine and celebrity dining personality Anthony Bourdain. All this for a fried chicken chain.

I should be precise: It's a Korean fried chicken chain (the other KFC) - meaning twice fried, bearing a vibrant sauce, and with serious cachet among next-big-thing-obsessed food writers. Still, when I sampled Bonchon in Manhattan several years ago, I enjoyed it, but not enough to seek it out again.

Was I - or Bonchon - just having a subpar day back then? Would the local branch of this South Korea-based corporation convert me to its fold? Inquiring minds want to know, right?

This is how I found myself in the restaurant-chain-fraught landscape that contains Bonchon. Colorful "bubble wall" panels, tall-backed booths, treacly Asian pop and a relaxed sports pub vibe lend Bonchon distinction. But not so much that it doesn't fit into its prefab neighborhood seamlessly.

Six draft beers are offered (best option: Columbus Brewing Company's IPA, $5), and they're a great match for fried chicken. Speaking of Bonchon's claim to fame, it can be glazed in a spicy or soy-garlic sauce. I recommend first-timers try the third, exploratory option of "half & half."

Both flavors are sweet. Considering that the crackly, light batter enveloping the chicken skin has a candied texture resembling crystallized sugar, this seems appropriate. Since the two sauces are similarly garlicky (not very), and I enjoy a gochujang-like sting more than the salty rush of soy sauce, I prefer the spicy variety.

Three choices of chicken pieces are available. Because everything interesting adheres to the exterior, I found finishing the meat on the big drumsticks to be anticlimactic, even fatiguing. The thin and wavy breast strips were pretty good, but underneath their crinkly shells, several were dry. This makes the moist wings the best pick.

Whatever you choose, your minimum chicken cost will be $12 (five drumsticks or 10 wings or 10 strips). Softening any sticker shock some, all orders come with little snow-white cubes of pleasantly sweet-and-funky pickled daikon.

Bonchon offers more than chicken. Among its Korean restaurant classics, I fared better with its respectable Japchae (translucent noodles fragrant with a sweet soy sauce, onions, red peppers, mushrooms and lots of good, bulgogi-type beef, $14) than with its lackluster Bibimbap ($14, not-so sizzling rice dish with not enough veggies unaided by unflavored tofu).

On paper, the Bulgogi Sliders sounded like an inspired venture into fusion cuisine. On the plate, minuses outweighed plusses.

The mildly spicy burgers tasted fine with their sweet-and-salty marinade, cucumber, red onion and fresh slaw. But utterly forgettable buns and an $11 price tag for three doily-sized patties? Your money would be better spent elsewhere.

Such as on a fusion dish which is a bargain: Kimchi Coleslaw ($3). At first blush, this orange mishmash seems like a culture clash between cabbages, but it's a creamy and spicy, successful collaboration.

The best non-chicken item and the best deal I tried here was the Salmon Avocado Ball ($10). An imitation crab salad made with surimi, avocado, fish roe and diced cucumber arrived encased in strips of salmon ingeniously assembled to resemble a baseball. Instead of stitchings, there are grill marks, plus lashings of spicy mayo and eel sauce. Topped off with crunchy "tempura bits," it's like an abstract expressionist sculpture inspired by nouveau sushi - and it's a blast to eat.

While polishing that off, I noticed "Addicted yet?" was written on the back of every server's T-shirt. Frankly, I'm not. But when it comes to that salmon ball and Bonchon's distinctive wings, I anticipate sporadic cravings.