Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chicken Out Food Review

Quarter Dark Platter at Chicken Out

I never quite recovered from the closing of Kenny Rogers Roasters in Cleveland Park almost two decades ago... For this writer, Boston Market and Chicken Out just didn't cut it. In the end, Boston Market won the "battle" for my chicken business; but I remain open to conversion.

Chicken Out had two locations relatively close to me... Bethesda (since closed, and replaced by Nando's Peri Peri) and Spring Valley at 4866 Massachusetts Ave., NW. I always preferred the Bethesda digs, but would drop by the latter every now and then. Hunger drove me there today, as I stopped in for a relatively late lunch. I say late, because at 1:45, there wasn't anyone else in the restaurant. That's a shame, because this Chicken Out is clean, spacious and relatively affordable.

The food on the other hand, isn't all that. I ordered a Quarter Dark Platter with two sides for just $8.19 ($1 more for white meat) but wasn't impressed by the selection of sides (their stuffing looked like wet mush, and the skinny, sweet potato fries were anything but sweet.) I wound up opting for double mash... mostly because I didn't think of looking around the corner, where they kept the cold sides (slaw,  cinnamon applesauce.) I suppose I should have looked, but it's an odd setup regardless.

Checking out was a breeze (after all, I was their only customer) and the dining area is plenty comfortable (great A/C.) They also have an enclosed, outdoor dining area... but it was a bit muggy to sit outside after the earlier rain. Lunch didn't take long, as disappointment replaced earlier pangs of hunger. The mashed potatoes are OK, I suppose; but each scoop usually holds two or three surprise clumps of red skin. Why not whip them, and avoid the unpleasantness of it all? Please don't mess with my potatoes!

Biscuits are usually a no-brainer; but this one closely resembled a hockey puck... both in appearance and texture. As hard as it was, it still broke into a dozen pieces, when I tried to butter it. Last but not least, the chicken was dry, overdone and saltless: The BBQ glaze looked and tasted like it had been put on yesterday. Can you say "miles away from happy?"

Eventually, a couple of people wandered in (one to use the restroom, another for a soda.) Perhaps they know something I don't. What I do know is... I still miss Kenny Rogers and the best chicken ever sold in DC. Chicken Out has a long way to go, if they want to change my mind.