Food

Best of Washington: Rotisserie Chicken

A beef expert, fish expert, and pork expert gave us unbiased opinions on the subject of chickens. Photograph by Vincent Ricardel.

Rotisserie chicken has become a staple of the midweek rush when there’s no time to cook. The roasted birds are on sale from supermarkets to ethnic specialty-chicken shops. To taste-test some of the many chickens around town, we recruited three Washingtonians with no conflicts of interest when it comes to poultry: Karen Batra, director of public affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Richard Gutting, former president of the National Fisheries Institute; and Audrey Adamson, director of government relations for the National Pork Producers Council. Here’s how they rated the birds.
The winner (4 stars): The chicken from Chesapeake Chicken & Rockin’ Ribs, purchased at this Eastern Shore import (7007 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 301-656-7634; closed until December 15; $13.95 whole, $7.35 half), was the unanimous favorite. Tasters called it tender, flavorful, and buttery. “A bit greasy but in a good way,” noted Adamson.

Also good (3.5 stars): Peruvian chicken spot El Pollo Rico (2917 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, 703-522-3220; 2541 Ennalls Ave., Wheaton, 301-942-4419; $12.50 whole, $6.98 half) impressed with its “nicely spiced, nontraditional flavor,” as did local chain Chicken Out (several area locations; $10.99 whole, $8.99 half) for its “juicy, basic American chicken.” 

3 stars: All tasters liked the full-flavored kosher chicken from Wegmans (11620 Monument Dr., Fairfax, 703-653-1600; 45131 Columbia Pl., Sterling, 703-421-2400; $7.99 whole). 

Also-rans (2.5 stars): Whole Foods Market (various locations) and Wagshal’s Delicatessen in DC’s Spring Valley (4855 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-363-5698).

2 stars: Chicken on the Run (4933 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-9004), Giant, and Safeway.

The disappointments (1 star): Tasters didn’t like the smoked flavor of the chicken from Magruder’s and were underwhelmed by the bird from Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown (3276 M St., NW; 202-342-2500).

This article appeared in the December, 2007 issue of the magazine.  

Don’t Miss Another New Restaurant—Get Our Food Newsletter

The latest in Washington’s food and drink scene.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.