Wednesday, January 21, 2009

El Pollo Rico

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There are alot of Peruvian chicken restaurants around the D.C. area, but the one place that keeps coming up in blogs and articles is El Pollo Rico in the Clarendon district in Arlington Va. It was recently featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show. Around lunch or dinner time the activity in the parking lot of El Pollo Rico is reminiscent of the frantic drive-in restaurants of the fifties. People going in and out, doors opening and closing, cars jockeying or spots. Folks, everyone is saying this is hands down the best chicken of this type in the area.

Chicken is the only entree on the menu here, you can get a quarter, half or whole. They'll ask you "with everything?" and you'll get cole slaw and fries on the side along with as many tiny containers of (dangerous) green chilli and their delicious mustard/mayo sauce as you like. The chicken really is delicious and very moist. Great unusual spices flavor it, and the skin is cooked crispy so it's almost like another side dish. The slaw has heavy horseradish and the fries are from frozen but crispy. Yuca frita or plantains would be a better side but what are you gonna do. A fork-full of chicken, skin, chili, and mustard/mayo sauce and you know why the lines are always long. Wash it all down with cold Inca Kola. So is it the best Peruvian chicken I've ever had? Yes.

The dining room is huge, it's cash only, and typical of a Clarendon eatery, the parking is sparse. It's all worth it though, it's the very well seasoned, very moist chicken that people show up in droves for. Also a bargain, my half chicken meal pictured above, with everything and the Kola came to $9.57.

El Pollo Rico, 932 N Kenmore St., Arlington, VA. 703.522.3220 MAP

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