El Pollo Loco

subject: El Pollo Loco
take-out vehicle: lots of styrofoam

cost: $10.02

Josè: "So are you going?"
John: "Yeah, I'm going there right now."
Josè: "Awesome. What are you going to get?"
John: "Isn't the rotisserie chicken supposed to be really good?"
Josè: "That's what I hear, I mean it's in their name, right?"
John: "So you haven't had it?"
Josè: "Haha, no. Everything I go in there, I end up ordering something else."
John: "Then I'll definitely get the rotisserie chicken."
Josè: "Great. You'll have to let me know how it is."

Well, Josè...the tacos were pretty good.

I'll be honest, I didn't see a rotisserie. I did see some chicken quarters in the display behind the counter, but when I asked the guy who took my order what his favorite thing on the menu was, his answer was tacos.

So I listened to the guy who took my order.

Unlike my trip to La Michoacana earlier this month, here I ordered three different tacos: one carne asada, one pollo, and one al pastor. My three tacos also came with a serving of Mexican rice, pinto beans, and two salsas. Feeling gluttonous, I also ordered a serving of fried plantains.

I was puzzled when I first opened the styrofoam take-out box. There were my three tacos, but I also saw three balls of aluminum foil. However, after opening the first to find sections of lime, I knew the contents of the other two: chopped onion and cilantro, all the toppings of a traditional taco.

I don't know how exactly its meat was cooked, but of the three, I found the taco al pastor to be the best in terms of flavor and texture. The pork was juicy, tender, and mildly spicy, and the lime, cilantro, onion, and tomato salsa complimented it well.

The taco carne asada was my second favorite. The beef paired well with the salsa verde and had a nice meaty flavor of its own, and it too was fairly tender. The chicken in the taco pollo, on the other hand, was a little bland and over-cooked. I tasted it, but I tasted the salsa verde and the tortillas a whole lot more.

The tortillas themselves were good, though a bit thinner than I was expecting, and I suspect it was for that reason two tortillas were used for each taco. The extra tortillas turned out to be a good thing, though, since one of the two from each taco ripped during my meal.

I found the rice to be decent but unremarkable, though the beans were very good. The guy who took my order told me they were slow cooked with sausage, bacon, and onions, whereas the also-offered black beans were cooked with jalapenos. I didn't try the black beans, but I have a feeling a chose correctly. The pintos were savory and satisfying, and the bacon gave it a subtle smokey flavor.

The plantains were also very tasty. As far as I could tell, they weren't spiced or seasoned after being fried, but they were every bit as good, if not better, than the ones I ate at Just Curry.

La Michoacana is closer to my home and office, so I doubt that I'll travel across town just to get these tacos, but I'll certainly keep this place in mind when I'm looking for lunch on Emmet St. After all, there's still the matter of the rotisserie chicken (somebody's got to try it). And where else in town can you watch music videos like this?

Note: If you're thinking of stopping by in the next few days, you may want to wait a week or so: I was told that new management is taking over soon, and though the existing menu is being retained, expect to see new items from El Salvador and Central America, including pupusas. The guy who took my order seemed pretty excited about it.


  1. pupusas are awesome!....especially when served with their traditional salvadoran accompaniment, curtido (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtido). if el pollo loco makes a pupusa with the pork al pastor and cheese (and they're decent), you'll lose your mind.