Peruvian Gold


Chicken Festival Rotisserie | 1584 1st Avenue (Btwn 82nd & 83rd St.), NYC | 212.988.2844 |

I HAVE BEEN SLOW TO realize myself the importance of quality when it comes to food delivery. Sure, it’s easy to cater to your every whim while you’re in a restaurant’s physical establishment. But I’ve been surprised by the difference in care and attitude in food and service between dining out and ordering in delivery.

So I recently added a new category for Delivery for this blog, and look forward to recounting my store-to-door (and takeout) experiences, as most of my friends—and I assume many of you—don’t eat out several times a week, but probably, more often, can’t wait to get home and get some quick, simple, and, hopefully, good food in your belly.

One of my newest favorite places to order delivery from is a Peruvian rotisserie chicken place called Chicken Festival. Much like the more venerated, established, and, for now, appreciated Pio Pio, it serves authentic Peruvian home-style food, with it’s indigenous succulent rotisserie chicken, and other common-to-that-country items such as rice and beans, salchipapas (french fries with sliced hot dogs—and it’s exactly what it sounds like, if you’re curious), fried plantains, a great dish called Chicharrones De Chancho Con Camotes (fresh seasoned pork, lightly battered and delicately fried, served with sweet potato and special topping salsa sauce), Avocado Salad, etc.

Yet, unlike the neighborhood’s standing Peruvian cuisine champ, Pio Pio, Chicken Festival, in it’s being so new, has something to prove. I’ve been going to Pio Pio for years; however, over those years, I’ve seen the service get more caustic, the restaurant get more cramped and rushed, and the delivery take longer and longer with varying results in portion size, food temperature, and even accuracy of order.

So I looked forward to giving the new kid a chance and have been quite pleased with that decision since my very first order, which was sometime early summer literally hours after they had opened up (someone was handing out menus in front of the restaurant while I walked by returning home from running errands).

I’ll give you the bad news first, because it’s minimal. Twice I ordered and they didn’t have what I wanted. At least not when I wanted it, which was, of course, while I was on the phone ordering. I was told once I’d have to wait about a half hour for white rice (?!) for one of the house specials that the woman on the other end of the phone had just finished recommending to me, and I was told another time that the fried potatoes for my Lomo Saltado (sliced steak) wouldn’t be ready for another 20 minutes—but they would gladly substitute white rice if I didn’t want to wait!

That little bit of comedy aside, every other transaction I’ve had with them has been a blessing, as it was earlier today when I ordered my “usual” for lunch for me and a friend: half rotisserie chicken with rice and beans, fried plaintains, and beef empanadas.


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The food arrives fast and hot, and always plentiful, as you can see from the photo above (use the plastic fork as a visual reference for the size of the empanadas alone!).

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The chicken alone is as good as any I’ve had Pio Pio and better than most that I’ve had delivered. The skin is charred and crispy and you can taste the special seasoning through even the thickest parts of the juicy chicken meat. The rice and beans were a perfect textural and aromatic compliment, and whatever is in that crazy delicious “green” sauce (I think green chiles, cilantro, lime, garlic, among other things) does wonders in the small applications. The fried plantains are better than pedestrain—not too sweet and caramelized, not too starchy, and plenty of natural flavor (I was in such a rush to eat this food before it cooled off that I forgot to get decent close-up shots of the plantains—oops!).

The empanadas kept the crustiness, they were surprisingly ungreasy, and chock full of some pleasantly >not over-seasoned ground beef. They don’t come with a dipping sauce, but are tasty enough and the beef is still steamed juicy enough not to warrant it.


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And considering that this order served two of us, it’s a clinched no-brainer once the check total for all of this was $17.42. I’ve yet to get out of Pio Pio with two people dining for under 30 bucks, although, with everything running smoothly, it is well worth it.

In hoping that this place does well (there’s very little traffic actually in the restaurant whenever I walk by, I’m kind of also grateful that they’re not suffering from the craziness that is the recurring, almost blind, loyalty that seems to make Pio Pio care more about the next customers than the current ones, and more about restaurant-present customers than ones anonymously in absentia. It’s kind of like being the first person to decide to prospect for gold in California when most people were more than happy to keep looking in Texas. Until, of course, it was too late, and they had missed the bandwagon….

Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.


Chicken Festival Rotisserie on Urbanspoon


Chicken Festival Rotisserie | 1584 1st Avenue (Btwn 82nd & 83rd St.), NYC | 212.988.2844 |



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