Welcome to Part 1 of our series on pollo places in the Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant area. The concept of this series is pretty simple: we eat at all the Peruvian chicken places in the area with a bunch of friends. Each diner rates the place on a 5-Cluck scale in four categories - Chicken, Side Selection, Side Flavor and Atmosphere. On the list to visit are Pollomio (3703 14th St NW), Senor Chicken (3100 14th St NW), Pollo Sabroso (1434 Park Rd NW), and maybe the Pollo Sabroso in Mt. Pleasant (3153 Mt. Pleasant St NW). If you know of any additional pollo places that we should try, please let us know in the comments.
The first pollo place we visited is the recently opened Pollomio, located at 3703 14th St. NW at Spring Rd. This spot just opened April 1 where Kikos Chicken used to be (RIP Kikos cauliflower au gratin). In the evenings and on weekends they grill steak outside on the patio, which looks delicious, but this is a chicken mission so the six of us split two whole chickens and got rice, beans, plantains, yuca, corn and fries for sides. They also gave us free samples of the rice pudding dessert. Here is how Pollomio fared:
Chicken - 3.75 Clucks (out of 5 possible Clucks)
The diners were split on the chicken depending on whether they got the light meat or the dark meat. They commented that it was tender, succulent, moist and easy to eat, but also noted that the seasoning is somewhat overwhelmingly salty and that the dark meat tended to be too moist and fall apart.
Side Selection - 3.5 Clucks (out of 5 possible Clucks)
While we were there, they ran out of yucca (at 6pm). In subsequent visits they've been running low on or have run out of some sides. Along with the beans, rice, fries, corn and yuca that we ordered, they also offer mashed potatos (which they were out of), cole slaw and fried rice. So there was a broad selection, but it's not necessarily well stocked.
Side Flavor - 3 Clucks (out of 5 possible Clucks)
Two of the diners commented that they really liked the plantains. The rice and beans were deemed "pretty good," but the beans were red beans rather than black beans. The diners really liked the green sauce and the (free) rice pudding.
Atmosphere - 3 Clucks (out of 5 possible Clucks)
The diners were split on the question of atmosphere. Pollomio has two floors and an outdoor patio. The entire front wall is a window and the place is primarily decorated in orange. It looks a bit like a stylish cafeteria. Everyone was enthusiastic about the outdoor seating and the service was extremely friendly. They also have free wifi, which is very convenient if you like to get stuff done while eating your pollo. One atmospheric aspect that was a big detractor for everyone was the music selection. The Pollomio folks were jamming out to Creed and contemporary Christian rock.
Overall Rating for Pollomio: 3.3 Clucks (out of 5)