Friday, March 6, 2015

Pollo Norte - Where the Bird Rules the Roost

Being a fan of simple, rotisserie chicken, I'm always looking for an excuse to get
Pollo Norte.  As it happens, this Mexican style rotisserie joint is right around the corner from where I live, so a casual walk over isn't out of the question.  Last week however, our friend Sonya treated us to a lovely meal from there in exchange for doggy daycare, which we happily accepted.

Simplicity reigns here in terms of atmosphere and that's because they really let their star ingredient (the chicken) shine.  Having said that, the dining room is cheery and bright with a long counter-style arrangement that allows customers to watch the chicken roast.  It's really a mystifying and mouth-watering experience which further builds up anticipation, as you wait for your chicken to be ready.

While some customers choose to eat inside, many call ahead to pick up and take their birds home.  This is what I did last time as well and the route Sonya chose too.  I highly recommend calling at least a half hour in advance of pick-up to make sure they have birds in stock, as they do tend to run out later in the eve.

The piece-de-resistance is of course the chicken, but the sides as well as their homemade tortillas rule too.  Here's more detail about our medley of deliciousness from that evening:

The Chicken - By ordering a whole chicken, they cut it up for you nicely so you don't have to do any of the work.  The skin is gloriously golden and the flesh inside is juicy, flavorful and consists of everything from rich, luscious dark meat to the more pristine white breast.  It's all excellent and is served on a bed of veggies that soak up the drippings of the chicken as it roasts on the grill.

Sides - With an order of a whole chicken, you also get 2 large sides and Sonya went for the black beans with pickled onions, the Mexican rice as well as a side of cole slaw for freshness.  It was all delicious and my personal fave were the black beans that were perfectly done to al dente and the pickled onions that gave it some zing.  I loved making a little taco with the fresh tortillas I'm about to highlight and the beans on top.  Major yum!

Tortillas - A big highlight of Pollo Norte's food are their expertly made corn tortillas, which are a little irregularly shaped and sport beautiful char marks.  There's an earthiness to each bite, which lets all its pure ingredients shine, not to mention how well it pairs with the aforementioned chicken and sides.

Service and Cost:
Since Pollo Norte is still so new and so are its proprietors to the restaurant industry, there's definitely room for improvement as far as service.  Given that the demand for chicken is so high for example, they can do a better job of making sure they're fully stocked or somehow communicate via social media when they do sell out.  It's also unclear sometimes whether they are open for business or have just accidentally locked their customers out (I unfortunately speak from experience).

Costs are competitive and will set you back anywhere from $10 for a quarter of a chicken with 2 small sides all the way to $24 for a whole chicken and 2 large size.  The latter is enough to feed 3 hungry Portlandians.

3 Mmmms

Pollo Norte - 5427 NE 42nd Avenue, Portland OR 97218

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