Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nando's PERi-PERi Chicken Food Review

1/4 Chicken (leg & thigh) with 2 sides

Portugal may be small in size for a country, but they're definitely BIG when it comes to flavor. Case in point: Nando's PERi-PERi, home to Portugese, flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken. What's PERi-PERi? Think heat... lots of heat. I stopped by Nando's 18th Street, NW digs for a late lunch and a better understanding of the term "Extra Hot."

Each Nando's is designed with style in mind: The 18th street location was previously home to W.J. Candey Hardware (and perhaps DC's heaviest door.) It's a great space, with a cool, dark vibe and a Salsa-esque sound beating from overhead speakers. I grabbed a booth, after ordering my food at the register (first timers may take a visit or two to get used to ordering, etc.) Me? I knew exactly what I wanted. 1/4 Chicken (leg & thigh) with a side of cole slaw and Portugese rice. A soda, and Nata dessert rounded out my spread. The whole lot came to $14.58 (tax included) Not cheap, but as you continue reading... well worth it.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I chose the hottest of three flavor profiles (mild, hot and extra hot.) Word to the wise: Extra hot means extra hot. I'll know better next time. Nando's has one of those nifty Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers: I selected Fanta Zero Fruit Punch (yum!) Food is delivered to your table in no time at all. Two-thirds of my plate was steaming, cooled only by Nando's to-die-for cole slaw. Colors make the plate, and my trio of dishes had lots and lots of color. The rice is spicy and delish... easily the best rice anywhere in America.

As I mentioned, Extra Hot is too hot... even for a spice lover like myself. That said, I couldn't stop myself from tearing my small portions apart (Nando's uses delicious but tiny chickens.) The meat is incredibly tender and juicy, and the skin bursts with flavor. I can't imagine a better, more complete lunch for less than 20 bucks.