Food & Drink

Roosterspin Wins New Brunswick’s War of the Five Wings

9d38c1eea417b220bec0_roosterspin_-_double_fried_chicken.jpg
Roosterspin's famous Always Double Fried Chicken are among the best wings in New Brunswick, according to food writer Devin Healey. Credits: Hanna Lee PR/Roosterspin
3a5db6c1b7c91d53548d_roosterspin_-_corn_dog_frankfurters_sausage.jpg
Corn dog with frankfurters sausage Credits: Devin Healey
1d395bbb7bde986fac13_roosterspin_-_fried_mandoo_korean_dumplings.jpg
Fried Mandoo: Korean dumplings Credits: Devin Healey
6008f42d34b5e95b62b2_roosterspin_-_chicken_gizzard.jpg
Chicken Gizzard: fried garlic, chicken gizzard and shishito pepper Credits: Devin Healey
497df8e1e2292f2706fd_roosterspin_-_pork_belly_ssam.jpg
Pork Belly Ssam: grilled pork belly strip, ssamjang, sesame leaves, Boston lettuce and scallion salad Credits: Devin Healey
9686cc778f8a5f8d44b0_roosterspin_-_bar.jpg
The bar Credits: Devin Healey
16e58f8462eeb8c694c6_roosterspin_-_karaoke_room.jpg
One of two private karaoke rooms Credits: Devin Healey
73f39b1b3aa41a946013_roosterspin_-_dining.jpg
The dining room Credits: Devin Healey
2edd10a7581793fa8868_IMG_7731.JPG
The entrance Credits: Devin Healey
42e5fd86ab5d673bc55e_roosterspin_-_bar_2.jpg
The place was alive Credits: Devin Healey
24902e944ce0d7875d9c_IMG_7732.JPG
The bar seat is calling you Credits: Devin Healey
9d38c1eea417b220bec0_roosterspin_-_double_fried_chicken.jpg

Editor's note: This is food writer Devin Healey's review of the new restaurant Roosterspin.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Game of Thrones' Westeros may have the War of the Five Kings, but New Brunswick has the War of the Five Wings. With the opening of Roosterspin on the corner of Albany and Spring streets, and the imminent opening of the Rick Ross-approved Wingstop right around the corner, it looks like Bonchon, Popeye's, Roosterspin, Wingstop, and Wings Over Rutgers will be duking it out over chicken wing supremacy. But Roosterspin may have already come out on top.

When I walked into Roosterspin during July’s soft opening, I immediately felt underdressed (and I hate feeling underdressed). Due to a slight PR-related snafu, I found myself at a gathering of friends and family instead of the press event, and the vibe was definitely more chic than I had expected. A DJ was spinning laid-back jams, well dressed bartenders were slinging Jersey-fied cocktails, glasses clinked, pictures were being snapped. Roosterspin’s opening night was emblematic of the direction New Brunswick’s culinary scene is headed.

Sign Up for E-News

Tempura Cheese Curds consist of fried cheese curds in tempura beer batter and jalapeño dipping sauce. Credit: Devin Healey

Roosterspin is the creation of Mihae Cho, who opened the wildly successful Westfield location in 2006. For her second location, Cho teamed up with renowned New York City mixologists Pam Wiznitzer (Dead Rabbit NYC, Seamstress NY) and Luis Hernandez (Seamstress NY) to develop their cocktail program. Although I was only able to sample a few of the menu’s boozy offerings during the soft opening, it seems like Roosterspin will be a welcome addition to the city’s upscale bar scene. Since they were unable to make any of my favorite classic cocktails (which I typically use as a measuring stick), I returned and ordered both an old fashioned and Sazerac later that week. Needless to say, the bar program at Roosterspin gets this cocktail connoisseur’s stamp of approval.

As my girlfriend and I chose a seat next to a wall of vinyl records (all of which were meticulously sourced and purchased by Cho herself via eBay and local record stores) in the “whimsical, retro” style dining room, we perused what appeared to be much more than just fried chicken. An extensive list of Korean staples like bibimbap, mandoo, pajeon, bulgogi, and pork belly ssam all greeted us as we looked over the offerings. Much to our dismay, we were not able to order from the full menu, but instead servers brought us out amuse bouche-sized versions of several dishes that included Tempura Cheese Curds with jalapeño dipping sauce, their take on a corn dog (a boardwalk favorite of mine), Crispy Mandoo, Chicken Gizzard, Pork Belly Ssam, and, course, their famous Roosterspin Always Double Fried Chicken, in both mild and spicy.

On the Cobb features  grilled corn, cotija cheese and paprika pepper. Credit: Devin Healey

I stopped by on a second occasion and tried both the Bulgogi Steamed Buns and Corn on the Cobb. Although I had been meaning to sample the delectable-sounding Soft Shell Crab Steamed Buns, I have been unable to by the time I’m writing this. However, I’ve been assured by many people that they are as enlightened as expected.

Of the hors d'oeuvres-sized plates brought around to us, my favorites were the tempura-fried corn dog, crispy mandoo, and, without a doubt, the fried chicken. Despite their tempura batter, the cheese curds seemed familiar, almost like something you’d find on a dozen other menus nowadays. The pork belly ssam was dry and unappetizing, and the chicken gizzards, despite being one of the samplings I was looking forward to the most, were extremely chewy. I should add a disclaimer in that all of these dishes were served in a much different style than they would be presented on any normal night, and also that what you will be presented with will look and possibly taste different than what I experienced. That being said, I’ve now had their double-fried chicken on several occasions and the hype is definitely real.

Records. Records everywhere. Credit: Devin Healey

Opening weeks are never free of hiccups, regardless of whether it’s on the food and drink or service side, but with the track record Roosterspin has already established with their incredibly successful Westfield location, I have a feeling any kinks will be ironed out shortly and New Brunswick’s newest restaurant will be a welcome addition to the Hub City’s diverse and upscale dining scene.

As the War of the Five Wings heats up, I have a hunch that Roosterspin’s more refined take on Korean and more specifically Korean fried chicken, will be the death knell for George Street’s Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken, which has stumbled out of the gate and still lacks the liquor license they promised earlier this year. I should also mention that Roosterspin boasts two full-service karaoke rooms, which are available to rent on any and all nights.

Roosterspin: Take your rightful place on the Iron Throne, because it’s time to crown the king of New Brunswick wings.

Devin Healey knows food and drink. In addition to writing columns for TAPinto New Brunswick, he runs a blog network called CougEats. You can find more of his work on Facebook and Instagram.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Franklin Republicans take part in Somerset County reorganization

June 17, 2018

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Franklin Township Republican Committee participated in a second meeting this week. On Monday night, June 11th, the Committee met for its own reorganization meeting. The very next night on Tuesday, June 12th several Committee members traveled to Hillsborough to meet at the Peter J. Biondi Municipal Building for the Somerset County reorganization.

Al Gaburo, who is a ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

June 14, 2018

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Dozens of Highland Park Residents Rally Against Recent ICE Detainment of Neighbor, Father of 4

Dozens of community members rallied in front of The Reformed Church of Highland Park on Friday afternoon to voice their opposition towards the recent detainment of local resident Cloyd Edralin by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The rally was planned just four days after Edralin, 47, a green card holder from the Philippines and father to four children who are U.S. citizens, was ...

Hillsborough teacher charged with ‘sexual conduct’ with student

NEW BRUNSWICK - A Plainsboro man and tenured English teacher at Hillsboro High School was being held in the Middlesex County jail today on charges of having improper contact with a 17-year-old student that occurred over a period of five months, authorities said today.

Kenneth Shindle, 27, is charged with one count of engaging in sexual conduct that would impair or debauch the morals of the ...

$200K Police Settlement a 'Total Disgrace,' Reiner Says

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A recent TAPinto report that $200,000 was paid to a former township man after he filed a federal suit alleging excessive force by police here prompted a passionate defense of township police by Committeeman Louis Carl Reiner at last night’s Township Committee meeting.

The suit was filed by Dennis Shuman against the township Police Department and several of its ...

Raritan Twp. Paid $200K to Settle 'Excessive Force' Lawsuit

RARITAN TWP., NJ – The township has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in federal court against its police.

The suit was filed by Dennis Shuman against the township Police Department and Patrol Officers D. S. Carson and Aaron Roth; Lt. Nicholas Buck; Sgt. Scott Lessig; and Police Chief Glenn Tabasko. It alleges assault and battery; negligence; emotional distress; abuse of ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

June 14, 2018

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Dozens of Highland Park Residents Rally Against Recent ICE Detainment of Neighbor, Father of 4

Dozens of community members rallied in front of The Reformed Church of Highland Park on Friday afternoon to voice their opposition towards the recent detainment of local resident Cloyd Edralin by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The rally was planned just four days after Edralin, 47, a green card holder from the Philippines and father to four children who are U.S. citizens, was ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 15, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Somerset County Employees' Health Center Opens in Somerville

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and officials from Integrity Health gathered for a June 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new health care facility on East Main Street.

The Somerset County Partnership Health Center (SCPHC) will serve as an on-site health, wellness and care coordination center for employees of Somerset County, the county park commission, the ...

Long May It Wave: Somerville Elks' Festival Salutes American Flag

SOMERVILLE, NJ The Somerville Elks are hosting their annual salute to America, patriotism and the American Flag  June 15 on the green adjacent to the historic Somerset County Courthouse on East Main Street, beginning at 5 p.m.

The Flag Day Country Music Festival features “Big Hix,” a country/western tribute cover band that takes the stage at 7 p.m. for a free 90-minute ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 15, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Somerset County Employees' Health Center Opens in Somerville

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and officials from Integrity Health gathered for a June 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new health care facility on East Main Street.

The Somerset County Partnership Health Center (SCPHC) will serve as an on-site health, wellness and care coordination center for employees of Somerset County, the county park commission, the ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...