Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pollo Fuego in Jessup

Peruvian grilled chicken has come to Howard County, and the new Pollo Fuego in Jessup looks like a nice place for lunch or for takeout.

Juicy, flavorful chicken. It's a basic, but there is real skill in turning out a bird with a peppery taste, moist meat, and skin that is just too delicious to leave on the plate. Pollo Fuego turns out nice chicken, and that makes a great plate with fried yucca and red beans -- still holding their shape, but cooked soft and creamy.

I was willing to drive to Mega Chicken in Laurel for yucca fries because I love the lighter, aerier variation on the French fry. Now, I can get my fix at U.S. 1 and Rte 175 in Jessup. It's a pretty
basic place -- counter service with small tables and bar stools. The menu is mostly variations on chicken, although there is a steak option. This is an easy detour off I-95, so it goes right onto my list of great takeout joints in Howard County. They have specials for one or two chickens with a mess of sides and cans of soda.

Early comments on a prior post suggest that other people are fans -- although Anonymous commits heresy by suggesting boiled potatoes over my yucca fries!! But note that Jane S. posted on Yelp about three disappointing visits -- and she sounds like she knows her Peruvian chicken. Please give your feedback below.

My one advice: Pay 20 cents more for a second condiment cup of the fiery green sauce. Spicy and fresh, it really goes well with the chicken and contrasts with the dry yucca.

If you are interested in Peruvian chicken, there is an enormous series of posts on Chowhound where people tasted and debated all kinds of restaurants -- mostly in PG and Montgomery County.

If you go to Pollo Fuego, definitely check out the My Organic Market in the same shopping center. Also look into Chinese buffet at Fortune Star Buffet across from MoM or the takeout empanadas at El Patio Market on U.S. 1. In fact, the entire run along U.S. 1 has such interesting food that I posted about the "Foodie Frontier."

Pollo Fuego
7351 Assateague Drive
Jessup, MD 20794


NEAR: This is the Columbia East shopping center at Rte 175 and U.S. 1. There is a Starbucks and a Rita's facing Rte 175, and you'll see My Organic Market right in front of you when you pull into the parking area. Pollo Fuego is in the back, around the corner from My Organic Market.

Pollo Fuego on Urbanspoon

17 comments:

Matt said...

They finally opened? Yes! Thanks a lot for the heads up.

Kevin said...

Went to Pollo Fuego today. I've only had Peruvian chicken once before, and this one was much better than my first taste. I had the family meal which was a good deal: one chicken, two sides (yuca fries and rice), and four sodas for $16! The chicken was moist and flavorful. From descriptions I've heard, I was expecting a crispier skin. It wasn't, but it was delicious nonetheless. I also tried the tres leches cake for dessert (I'd recommend it) and a carbonated non-alcoholic sangria they had in the cooler (it was...interesting). I'm definitely going to try Pollo Fuego again.

Kevin said...

I made myself sound like a pig. I had the family meal with my family.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. I can just picture you sucking down 4 sodas and a whole chicken by yourself!

Samit said...

I tried Pollo Fuego recently but was very disappointed with the food. The chicken I was given was cold and tough and the yuca was dry. I took my order back and then gladly gave me a fresh chicken and yuca but it still was on the dry side. I grew up in northern Virginia where there are dozens of Peruvian chicken places and Pollo Fuego has a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as those places. I am willing to try Pollo Fuego again -- hopefully it will be better.

Anonymous said...

I went in there for the first time this past monday. I never been tp a place like this, so i was kind of nervous. The cashier lady noticed, im assuming from my face expression of lost and confusion. Myself not knowing what Yuca was and she was quick to grab a piece for taste. She let me dunk into a sauce that comes with the meals. I liked it and choosed it as one of my sides. I took my 1/4 chicken to go. When i finally tryed it at home it was still nice and hot with the most outrageous flavors my taste buds had ever tasted. I dont recall if the skin was crispy or not but what the heck it was still awesome

chowsearch said...

What we observed during the never-ending MD Pollo Smackdown was chicken dwell time after cooking was key to qulaity. If they don't have high traffic, the birds can sit. It will be useful to learn if this place is good at certain times, like noon or maybe Friday evenings...please keep the observations coming.

emkenton said...

Finally had a chance to stop in here. I was really surprised that the quarter chicken meal with 2 sides is only $4.99! (And you can request white-meat only). I paid an extra dollar for plantains and there were enough of them for several people! Three of us all had the chicken and there was nothing but praise, although admittedly we are not Peruvian chicken experts. We did think it was weird, however, that they were "out" of subs at 11:30 on a weekday. Also-- it is HOT in there!

Anonymous said...

They are constantly running out of steak but then again this is a chicken place and that is why you should go there. The lady running the register is rather rude and doesn't know how to mix and match items such as swapping a regular can soda for a bottled drink. Other than that the food can be good. The chicken is good (get the white meat). The plantains are best when freshly cooked. Their fries are a little bland (no salt or seasoning). The chicken fried rice isn't worth the extra dollar to get. Just get the regular rice and add your own chicken. Do get the extra green sauce. That is some good stuff.

dzoey said...

I finally was able to try this place. I had 1/4 chicken dark and it was good. It had a nice flavor, not too salty, and juicy without being greasy. The green sauce was really good, nice and spicy and piquant. Instead of using it with the chicken, which was good on its own, I wound up using most of it to give the beans some flavor.

The beans were disappointing - flat tasting, very little flavor.

The chicken fried rice I thought was OK and it went well with the chicken. It's not Chinese chicken fried rice, but it's decent, though not good enough to stand on its own as a meal.

I too had the tres leches cake and very much enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I went to this place about three times and only ordered twice. The chicken and plantains were good. The beans, rice, and salad were ok. However, their customer service is BAD!! The first time I went, the woman and fellow worker just stood there talking to each other in front of the register. Not once did either acknowledge me or apologized for me waiting. I cleared my throat and then she asked what I wanted to order. Well, I went again hoping it was just a wrong day. This time, there was a gentleman at the register. His customer service was GREAT!! I went this past Wednesday during my lunch break. Low and behold, no one came out. One of the cooks saw me and walked to get someone’s attention. There was a customer eating at a table and he said that the customer service wasn’t that great and complained about the woman who was taking the orders. Well, I told him I experienced the rude customer service before with her. At that point, I could see two cooks and they both just looked, but did not say anything. I waited a few more minutes, and left. After this incident, I will not go back. I will try the other place in Laurel, MD.

Anonymous said...

I TRIED to eat here last night, but no luck. After being told my order (whole chicken and 1 side - real complicated, right?) would take 10-15 minutes I gave up after 45 minutes and demanded my money back (they make you pay first). In addition to the horrible service and rude attitude I witnessed numerous health code violations taking place behind the counter. Eat here if you have all day to wait for food and you don't mind if you get sick from it afterward. A super disappointment and to be avoided!

Eggroll said...

WTH! A group of us at work (7 ppl) decide to try this place for lunch. We had a menu someone got a week ago. $5.99 for qtr chicken w/ 2 sides sounded good ($7.49 for half chicken). Menu stated free delivery (minimum $20) and they open at 11:30. We call the restaurant at 11:35 and the lady on the phone says delivery only on the weekends. There was no small print on the menu stating this. We decide we still wanna try this place so we call them back to place an order for pickup. Lady tells us that they don't open until noon. Two strikes already in less than 5 minutes and I haven't even seen the place or had any food!

Eggroll said...

Update to my above post: We called them at noon to place a pickup order. The lady asked us to come in and place the order. We asked for her to please take it over the phone since it's a large order; she begrudgingly took it and told us it would be ready in 30 minutes. We drive over there and show up at 12:25PM to see 4 people standing outside in the rain. I walked up to them and realize that the doors were still locked. (The sign on the door said they open at 11:30AM). One of the guys standing outside said this is normal for them to open late (not a good thing to hear IMO). We see workers in the restaurant in the back but none come over to unlock the door, even after someone banged on the window. Someone finally comes to let us in at 12:30. The two people ahead of us place their order and get their food. We get up to the register and tell the lady we called earlier with our order. She recognizes us then proceeds to place the order into the register and hand the other guy our order. (Our orders weren't even processed yet!) After 15 minutes, we get our order with a couple of things missing (I'll give them a pass on this since it was a large order). We asked to get some extra sauce and she had the audacity to try to charge us for it, even after all this mess. Plus, she tried to charge us "4 for $1." Ummm, it's $.20 for one so how can 4 be a dollar? It would make good business relations to toss in some extra sauce no charge for someone ordering alot of food and after you opened up an hour late. She never once apologized for the mishaps.

Health concern: The lady who took our order and handled the money tried to speed things up by chopping up some chicken while the chicken guy was packing up our food containers. She didn't wash her hands nor put on gloves. She tried to barely hold onto the knife, scissor, and tongs but she ended up putting her hands onto the board that touched the chicken. It would've taken her a few seconds to just put on some stinkin' gloves.

On a positive note: the chicken was delicious though the skin wasn't as crispy as other places', the coleslaw was delicious and not watery like other places, and the green chili sauce was spicy and delicious. Even the mild sauce was good.

Their food gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. Service gets 1/5. Total 2 out of 5 stars.

Anonymous said...

first of all they charge 20 cents plus tax bcause the delicous sauce because they make it themselves with healthy and fresh ingredients.

Ally said...

The most juciest chicken EVER. Costumer service is the best the two women that take turns at the cash register always have the right attitudes reccomending new things and specials.To my surprise i enjoyed the tres leches that i thought i wouldnt like(i reccomend the the tres leches).BEST RESTARAUNT EXPERIENCE EVER.Everthing is clean they even ket me go into the kithen you can ask and theyll let u they have nothing 2 hide. everything is clean.

Anonymous said...

I have been here a few times and I do love the chicken. The service is terrible and the dining area is usually a mess. I work 5 minutes from this place and I would probably eat there more often if the service imporved. The lady everyone is talking about is rude and loves to charge more for ANYTHING she can. overall the chicken is awesome, the sides are all so-so and the service is terrible.