Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pollo Campero Food Review

Perhaps there's still hope for mankind after all: The $5 lunch is alive and well at Pollo Campero in Columbia Heights. Sound the alarm, tell your neighbors... The recession is over! OK, I'm showing too much excitement; but seriously, where else can you get three pieces of chicken, your choice of side, a dinner roll and a fountain drink for only five bucks? It's a deal of epic proportions... but is it worth the dough?

I suppose it depends on what you're looking for. If taste is no concern, you're bound to love it. Such as it was (more on that, later) I was satisfied, but hardly impressed. As you can likely guess, great prices draw big crowds; and I had to wait a few minutes to order (no worries.) The cashier was friendly enough, and took my order for a #1 Value Meal (Campero Fried Chicken.) Hold on to your receipt... Fill out a brief survey online, and you can trade it in for a free empanada, $1 off on a $5 purchase or $5 off $20.

I took a seat at an empty table next to the soda fountain dispenser. Oddly enough, a manager was conducting a PowerPoint presentation to a group of trainees... not 10 feet away from me (and other customers.) It was a strange sight to see, and mildly inappropriate. The restaurant was very busy (almost all tables were full, and there was a constant stream of more folks coming in.) The front door made a lot of noise (WD-40 please!) but I can live with that... for a $5 lunch.

A few minutes later, a very nice girl delivered a tray of food to my table (table service!) So far, so good. The cole slaw had a great consistency - nice & creamy, but had no carrots (a major cole slaw no-no in my book.) The roll was of the breakaway variety, straight out of a bag and cold as ice. No thank you. The chicken was surprisingly moist inside; but the exterior was way, way overdone. There was also very little meat in each piece. Not much in terms of flavor either; but gee wiz, what did you expect for the money spent?

Weekday specials

As I mentioned earlier, I left satisfied; but that was mostly due to the "savings high" I was on (versus how the food tasted.) Pollo Campero's menu offers lots of choices, and boasts of Latin flavors. I found little evidence in my meal, but fried chicken is hardly a staple Latin American item. I'll be sure to try again (Yuca Fries, here I come) and report back. One thing's for sure: It won't cost much (smile.)