Cheap Eats 2012: El Pollo Rico

Cheap Eats 2012

Peruvian chicken houses are nearly as common as burger joints
around here, and for years these bare-bones pollerias have been
in the top tier. At their finest, the spice-rubbed birds, which rotate
above bright-orange coals, sport moist meat and zesty skin.

It’s best to come at dinner, when families pile around tables
scattered with cans of Inca Kola and when turnover is high—at slower times
the chickens can sit and turn dry. Tiny cups of fiery jalapeño purée and
tangy mayo sauce come with your bird—they’re so good we order extra. Lines
can be long, but the recent addition of credit-card machines is a
convenience.

Also good: Thick-cut fries; alfajores
(shortbread cookies).

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.