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Rooster Spin stands out with unique menu options, hip decor

New Brunswick has a new restaurant! Roosterspin just opened at 120 Albany Street (where Shaka used to be). They’re serving a Korean-inspired menu full of small plates, sushi rolls and noodle and rice dishes along with a great beer list.

Roosterspin is a small local chain with another location in Westfield, N.J. The vibe is very hip and young, with all of the typical “industrial-chic” accents. There’s a lot of distressed metal, funky lightbulbs, cinderblocks and mason jars, but it somehow feels more inviting than most new restaurants of this style today. Directly in front of the entrance is a beautiful large bar, and tables and booths fill the remaining space. The dim lights and the relaxed music creates the perfect atmosphere for a night out.

When I walked in at around 7:30 on a Wednesday night, the place was full of college students, but it was a very relaxed atmosphere. The menu invites sharing, which is what many groups of friends were doing. Our waiter was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu — he helped us choose our main dishes and suggested the best beers that paired well with them.

A friend and I shared the delicious Roosterspin fries. The steak fries were seasoned with rosemary and served with both spicy and regular mayo and tasty “bacon ketchup." Other appetizer options included steamed or fried buns, tempura cheese curds and tuna tataki. Next time, I’d love to try the fried oyster and cuttlefish, something you don't usually see on many menus.

My friend tried the miso ramen, which wasn’t very exciting. I would recommend getting ramen at one of the other ramen-specific restaurants we have in New Brunswick. I had the Roosterspin’s famous double fried chicken, which comes in either a mild or spicy soy garlic sauce (or half and half). The chicken was very crispy and not too greasy. To achieve this crackling, non-greasy skin, the chicken is fried twice in soybean oil. Whatever magic they perform in the kitchen works because the chicken was great. The regular soy garlic chicken was flavorful, but I preferred the spicy one. It wasn’t crazy spicy, so if extra hot Korean fried chicken is what you’re after, this isn’t it, but it definitely had a little kick.

Roosterspin's menu adds an exciting addition to our New Brunswick restaurant options. It isn’t your standard fare, and the choices will probably satisfy everyone in your friend group — options range from fairly tame garlic fried rice to more adventurous chicken gizzards.

Most dishes at Roosterspin fall between the $10 and $20 range, making it a more affordable option to grab a slightly nicer dinner with friends, or a casual yet classy date spot.

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