Somehow, for the past 2 years (about how long they have been in business), I have managed to completely miss Pollo El Rey at Northeast Plaza. Admittedly, it is tucked deep in a back corner, invisible not only from the street, but from most of the parking lot as well.
After a few mediocre experiences with Peruvian food in the past, I had tended to avoid it. Lately, I’ve been re-visiting it and discovering that I’ve been missing out on some pretty spectacular flavors.
Pollo El Rey focuses on the most common dish in Peru – pollo a la brasa – spit-roasted chicken, cooked over wood (but not smoked). The chicken is heavily seasoned with black pepper, achiote, huacatay (Peruvian black mint), aji amarillo paste (yellow chili), garlic and lemon.
If you’re a fan of roasted chicken (I could eat it every day), it’s worth a trip here – they have 3 ovens dedicated to it… Plus the papas fritas with Huancaina (white cheese, aji amarillo, oil, salt, evaporated milk, etc.) sauce are “groin-grabbingly good” (c.f.: Homer Simpson, food critic).
Chicha morada makes a perfect companion drink to the pollo (and no, it’s not the chicha fermented with human spit). Chicha morada is made from purple maize and pineapple skin, boiled with cinnamon and clove and served cold.
Pollo El Rey
3337 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
I probably shouldn’t let this out, but Pollo El Rey is located next to a Goodwill Store. A quick stroll after lunch netted me 3 mint condition cookbooks: Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist Cooks at Home, and Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet’s Culinary Handbook and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines – all out of print, for a grand total of $7.50!