The Peruvian chicken restaurant in the Hickory Ridge Village Center opened to a packed house last night. Tasked with bringing home dinner, I thought I was being clever to stop there. But I ended up spending 45 minutes in line and waiting for my meal. The aroma kept me in line. Chick'n Pollo smelled delicious, and that seemed to keep the crowd patient and happy.
El Pollo Kiki Riki in Wheaton. But the Chick'n Pollo bird was bigger and tasted better than the supermarket rotisserie chickens, which I have recently taken up as convenience food.
My meal was moist and had a seasoned flavor that steps up from the supermarket. There are just a few pieces of skin, crispy and delicious even though you know it's bad for you. I also love the side sauces -- a green spicy one and a yellow creamy one that still offers real flavor. A half-chicken is perfect for our dinner because we're a Sprat family -- one loves white meat, one is quite happy with a wing and drumstick. A full chicken would fill some brown bag lunches.
But I also hope that the food will improve a bit as Chick'n Pollo settles into a normal groove. The side dishes -- although fried perfectly to crisp, but oily -- are expensive. ($3.50 for beans and rice?) The yuca was really dry when we got it home, and the plantains weren't right. Too starchy. Not sweet enough. That might be a style issue, but my favorite plantains are always soft and sweet. These might not have been ripe enough yet. (The HowChow tip: Call ahead and have someone turn your home oven to 400 while you're at Chick'n Pollo. Yucca fries cool as you carry them home. A few minutes in a hot oven make them fresh and crisp again. Our leftovers were actually better for lunch today because they were hot )
This looks like a great addition. I'd go just for the chicken, but they have some burritos that I have to try -- burritos . . . in a Peruvian place . . . that claim to use Thai green or red curry sauce. I love America.
If you want to compare the local Peruvian chickens, you can test Chick'n Pollo against Pollo Fuego in Jessup. Or check out the great fried chicken at Chick N' Friends in the Long Reach Village Center in Columbia.
6470 Freetown Road
Columbia, MD 21044-4016
NEAR: This is in the back side of the Hickory Ridge Village Center. It is off Cedar Lane north of Rte 32. You can park around back, or you can park near the Giant and walk through the center. Very convenient.