Best of the Bay 2012: BEST BACKROOM CHICKEN

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BEST BACKROOM CHICKEN

Win ultimate cool points on a night in North Beach by taking your friends to Chubby Noodle, a wee Asian hideaway in the back of the shabby-classy Amante bar. Order at the back kitchen window — illuminated by a neon sign asking, "Hungry?" — then slide into roomy booths for Korean tacos, house kimchi, spicy garlic noodles, and Hawaiian poke. (Cheeky chef Peter Mrabe, also of hip taqueria Don Pisto's, tosses steaming bowls of buttery grits into the menu mix, too.) The standouts, however, are heartwarming red miso ramen and — especially — organic buttermilk-brined fried chicken in generous five-piece wings or strips. It's American fried chicken with Asian attitude, dipped in habit-forming, creamy sambal dipping sauce. And everything is under $13. Skip Italian next time you're in North Beach and opt for something a bit more adventurous and a bit more, er, chubby.

570 Green St., SF. (415) 361-8850, www.thechubbynoodle.com