Super Pollo, Arlington, VA

“Knock, knock.”

“Cumin.”

I’d walked past Super Pollo a couple weeks before, and the smoke bellowing from the building was enough to get my attention. This time was also mid-day, and it didn’t look quite so much like the building was on fire from the outside, but once I opened the door … whack! I was almost knocked over from the scent of cumin.

A Whole Chicken ($14.65) came with two sides, and of course I chose yucca and plantains ($1 extra) even though I’m wary of fried plantains being turbo-charged conduits for old frying oil.

The chicken was pulled out of a storage drawer, and had lost its crispy skin, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing to me as it has more time to sit there and think about how good it’s going to be.

The rub at Super Pollo is really tasty, and not surprisingly, pretty heavy on the cumin, but still well within the norms of balance. And this chicken was also better than average at what I consider a fundamental issue with roasting whole chickens: penetration into the breast meat which is often dry and bland.

The yucca was very good (as it often is), but the plantains were hors classe, with the oil lending a completely neutral flavor. For both, the fry-job was just right, and the portions were everything I could hope for when ordering a single chicken.

Super Pollo is open until 1 AM seven days a week (the Alexandria location closes at 10 PM).

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