I often do things that are really stupid. Not because I’m (necessarily) stupid, but because I act without thinking.
And of course I found myself driving down Rockville Pike during peak dinner hour Saturday night, with no reservation, and a hungry teenager in the car.
Addie’s? Booked. Black Market Bistro? Booked. Joe’s Noodle House? 30 minute wait. Yekta Kabobi? 30 minute wait.
Each failure resulted in a slightly more withering dining companion – patient as can be, but knees starting to buckle.
“It’s time for me to stop being a restaurant critic, and to start being a dad,” I said. “I’m taking you to Fuddrucker’s, and I’ll have dinner later.”
There was no left turn coming out of Joe’s parking lot onto Rockville Pike.
So I turned right, northbound, and was going to swing a U, and right before my eyes was Crisp & Juicy. Score!
Now, it needs to be known that I have always, always favored the Lee Heights Shopping Center Crisp & Juicy over El Pollo Rico (and every other place, for that matter). When it’s on, it’s amazing, and you can tell when it’s on from a half-mile away because of all the smoke pouring out of the building.
There are now eight Crisp & Juicy’s in the area, and I was much more skeptical about the Rockville location since it was in a modern strip mall, probably with tighter zoning, regulations, etc.
But I shouldn’t have been because it was great! My young dining companion got a can of Diet Coke ($1.05) while we placed an order for a Whole Chicken ($9.95) and a large Yuca ($2.99). I left a dollar in the tip jar and (as is often the case) a couple extra sauces appeared with the order.
The chicken was magnificent, every bit as good as the Lee Heights location even on a good day, and the yuca was a large portion and fried perfectly. After dinner, I commented that we could have gone out and spent five times (literally, five times) the money on dinner and not enjoyed the food as much.
And to this day, I don’t get why El Pollo Rico serves those lousy frozen french fries instead of yuca.