Saturday, November 14, 2009

Senor Pollo 's place in the Peruvian Chicken hierarchy

Senor Chicken is a Peruvian chicken and steak place just off 14th Street on Park in Columbia Heights. Senor Chicken just opened recently and is in a somewhat competitive region for their chosen cuisine, including being near Chix and literally right next door to Pollo Sabroso amongst other competitors.

A friend and I decided we would check it out for lunch. Both my friend and I have a strong love for Peruvian style chicken and have been going to El Pollo Rico in Virginia together ritualistically for years. Having moved to the Columbia Heights area recently and being satisfied with the chicken from Pollo Sabroso (also on Park just off 14th), we were excited to have another chicken place in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, we were somewhat disappointed by Senor Chicken.

I believe that El Pollo Rico sets the standard for Peruvian style chicken and french fries in the DC area. The service is usually fast despite high numbers, and the skin is flavorful and the chicken is moist. Pollo Sabroso has a good product as well with very moist chicken and decently flavored skin, although is very slow as far as service. Senor Chicken has only decent meat and skin, and the service was mediocre. With better chicken on sale for almost identical cost only a few feet from its door, it will be interesting to see how Senor Chicken does in the coming months.

Every good chicken place will have dipping sauces for their deliciously seasoned birds, typically ketchup, green spicy sauce, and creamy white sauce. In addition to a decent but not great green sauce, El Pollo Rico offers an amazing mayonnaise based white sauce that is unmatched. Pollo Sabroso offers a watery thousand island dressing based white sauce which is pretty gross to be honest. We were hoping Senor Chicken would offer a better white sauce but found theirs to be watered down thousand island dressing as well. Another unfortunate failure to improve upon the offerings of nearby Pollo Sabroso.

The one distinct advantage Senor Chicken has is its good service, spacious seating area and clean and well lit counter. Pollo Sabroso is slow and small but in the end it's the chicken that really matters.

The french fries were also poor and lacking any kind of flavor at Senor Chicken (badly needed salt). Basically, if this place had opened up and there wasn't the exact same offerings only feet away for the same price with a better product, I would be more excited. Again, it isn't bad, it's just the exact same offerings as Pollo Sabroso with worse quality.

Since I love chicken I welcome this kind of competition in the area, but Senor Chicken should try to make itself stand out from its neighbor and competitor with a different kind of white sauce at least. It was only the first day they were open when I ate there so the product may improve, but right now, I will stick with Pollo Sabroso.

Senor Chicken is located on Park Road west of 14th Street. A half chicken and a side is about $8.


  1. so are you talking about senor pollo or about senor chicken? or are the two the same? the sign says senor chicken, but the story only mentions senor pollo ... i am a bit confused here.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out Carsten, I fixed it.

  3. Thanks for the post.
    I love a good chicken place, and I've never tried Senor Chicken or Peruvian flavor for that matter. I'm just up at Sedgwick Gardens on Connecticut...that's just 5 minutes away...GREAT

  4. Thanks for the post. I am always looking for a good Peruvian Chicken place. Ii will check out El Pollo Rico!