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Oct 26, 2005 01:01 AM

Richmond - Mr. PolloMex – Abierto – Organico pollo adobado – Si !!!

  • r

This is the type of place that is the reason you read Chowhound ... that unknown little mom and pop dishing up one-of-a-kind chow.

While waiting for my order, I was writing in my mind the obit of this new chicken restaurant that sells organic Mexican chicken. Then at home I opened the containers and found something that was not only different, but delicious.

I was so sure of the soon demise of this place that I didn’t take notes. So it is perhaps, Adobado chicken. It looks like the chicken described in Dr. Biggles link below – deep red from coating in a spice rub that has hints of cinnamon. The chicken is chopped in pieces.

The chicken comes with five fabulous sides, two terrific house made salsas and a four inch stack of tortillas. As an opening special, buy a whole chicken and get an additional half chicken free – a chick and a half.

There are the wonderful soupy beans, smoky and chock full of pieces of bacon. I put them in a little cup and when I finished the beans, I drank the rest of the sauce.

The creamy diced potato salad with peas and carrots has a great firm texture and is pleasantly salty.

The soft spaghetti had some sort of white Mexican cheese on top and mixed in. Really good with a little tang and like nothing I’ve ever tried.

The rice is better than some risottos and was obviously cooked in rich chicken broth with some greens.

Spicy-hot pickled beets and crunchy onions had some of the heat from Mexican oregano, but seemed to have chili heat too. How about that … Mexican beets.

The salsa verde is bright colored and has a nice herby taste and a real kick. The brown tomatillo sauce was also very fresh tasting and hotter than the salsa verde.

The only thing I didn’t take to instantly was the stack of tortillas wrapped in a paper towel. They seemed a little dry. Even though they are thin and uniform size, I suspect they are house made because there is the indention of a tortilla press on the edges. There's just something about them that says house made.

This is down home Mexican cooking, if the home has someone who is known for their good cooking.

So why was I antipating a doomed business? While waiting for the chicken, they gave me a complementary wing. It didn’t have much of a coating and the chicken was dry like some tandoori chicken can be. I was anticipating a juicy Lola’s roast chicken.

It is a dry chicken, like a long BBQ'd chicken. It allows the complex spicy coating to permeate through the meat. There are layers of flavor and heat to the chicken. Long after lunch, the mouth still pleasantly tingles and the mind lingers on all those different spices.

There are just handwritten signs on the walls, in Spanish and badly translated English. The chicken is described as fried chicken in English. The owner and cook, speaks no English and even though the lady taking the orders did speak English, it wasn’t until I said ‘not like KFC” that I was assured the chicken wasn’t fried liked that. Probably why I was given the wing.

Anyway, there is no take-out menu. There is no menu. Only handwritten signs in the window without prices. They put the dinner together and charged $25. I tried not to faint.

That WAS one hefty bag though with five pint sized containers with enough food to feed the two of us for a couple of days.

But this is a poor neighborhood where people are buying $1 tacos. This may be the only organic chicken in any type of market in miles. I wondered if the working class families were going to spring that much money for a chicken dinner. If they try this chicken, there will be business. But will they try it because of the prices or go to Pollo Loco down the road where prices are almost half? Or will they go to the little nearby restaurants where the food might not be as tasty, but the prices are rock bottom. However, other items are accessibly priced.

Finally, there are only three items on the menu – chicken dinner, chicken torta and chicken burrito. I asked if more was coming which was translated back and forth. Nope. So, to get out of the question, I said “If you do one thing very well, you don’t need more” Those words were prophetic. They do one thing very, very well.

A 1/4 chicken dinner is available for $7. Chicken tortas are $5.50 and chicken burritos are $4.25. If the burritos use those fabulous beans they are going to be real winners. I don’t eat burritos and tortas often, but I’m really intruiged and will probably go back to sample them … but it will be in a few days. It will take Roberto and me a few days to finish all this food. The quality and quantity are in line with the price, but will the potential first time buyer know that?

It has the look of a fast food shop outside. Inside it is very, very clean with shiny, modern metal tables and a lunch counter with four seats. There is a huge, unusual chicken on the roof. I’m going to have to dig my camera out.

It is across from the middle school, so I don’t know if this will appeal to kids. Two stopped by today and didn’t buy anything because of the limited menu.

They are very nice people. The restaurant has a parking lot that a business that caters to seniors was using in the year it took for the restaurant to open. When the seniors asked permission to park in the lot if they couldn’t find street parking, the owner said yes.

When I said I was writing an obit in my mind, I meant I was planning not to post since mom and pop bashing seems uncessary. It is a pleasure to be able to instead write a positive post ... nice surprise.

I hope Mr. PolloMex makes it. It would be nice to have some delicious organic chicken near home. Wish I knew what part of Mexico the owner is from. It is different from most Mexican food that I’ve tried.

Mr, PolloMex
3231 MacDonald Avenue
Richmond, Ca


Closed Sunday

Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm (they are new, so hours subject to change)



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  1. So, does this mean it's open? Finally?
    I'm really jacked and will have to go no matter what tomorrow.
    That area really has very little going for it. Maybe with the new little joint across the street MacDonald will come to life. It's a nice wide avenue, it can surely do better.
    If it's dry, they're going to need to lower the temperature of the oven. Organic chickens don't have the nasty fat content of commodity chickens and they're most likely not injected with a sodium "marinade".
    The Pollo Adobado chicken I did was MOIST, incredibly so. But they're not easy to do. Making the chile marinade correctly means you have to use real dried chiles, tedious work. Especially for a restaurant, PHEW !!!
    I say run, don't walk to go try this place. The dry chicken part could vary greatly.
    Biggles is going!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dr. Biggles

      Really looking forward to your report, Dr. B. Leftovers were very good today ... and I assume tommorrow. Yeah, if this place had tanked, I would have let you know off line since we are the few living Chowhounds in that part of the world. No need to do bashing of a small business that no one would go to.

      Whatever you get will be interesting to hear about. The chicken plate does have all the fixins which are the great thing to me. I hope eventually she will let you buy these individually. I think asking for that would really work. I could live on the potato salad. Even the rice held up nicely the next day. Just love them beets too. Spaghetti is good cold.

      Well, if you include the place on your blog, hope you'll get a shot of the mean looking chicken on top of the place.


      1. re: rworange

        Not sure if I'll make it today, will try. If nothing else, a quick torta, just to see. Gotta get the good word out.


    2. Welp, I was driving back to Richmond from Berkeley just now and missed my exit. Since I was already going out of my way, took the MacDonald exit and decided to hit up Mr. PolloMex for a torta.
      See, I recently had a horribly bland two taco, rice & beans plate at Del Palmar and it cost me nearly 9 dollars. I felt burned and hesitant to blow another 9 to 25 bux, on anything. This is why I chose the torta.
      In any case, this part of MacDonald isn't that bad and it's free of idjets, for the most part. There's ample parking everywhere, my favorite thing. As you may have guessed, this place just opened and it shows. They haven't quite got the counters set right, one is stashed hard to the right and unusable. However, one thing is certain, the kitchen is all nicely set up. It's clean and fricken huge considering the size of the building. RW is right, there's no standard menu system. But the word "torta" and "everything" got me through. I watched the cook pull out the puffy white bread roll and spread butter on both sides, not too much. Then she warmed it in a skillet. Next came a carefully guided amount of mayo (get ready heart) and a spread of tasty little beans. And finally some of the shredded chicken, couldn't see much, I'd have to wait. The sandwich was topped with lettuce, some things died pink, 'maters, avacado slices and a droozle of crema. Hooboy! I got it to go, so I did, right back to work.
      She wrapped it first in a paper towel, then the foil. Niice, no soggy. The torta was really good, I was able to pull out the flavors of everything in there, even the chicken. Of course I pulled a few pieces out and tried'em. They were on the dry side, but not a bad dry. You know that kind? Where it's all chewy, pasty and removes any moisture from your mouth? Not like that. The red chile mixture had some flavors going on in there and a tiny zing. But to truly give it justice, you'd need to order the whole chicken and poke at each piece to see.
      All in all, I'd say it was a really fine lunch for $4.35, right in my price range. I think it'll be fun to see how Mr. PolloMex does in the coming months and if they get menus. And at this point I wouldn't mind blowing the 25 bux for the chicken dinner.



      5 Replies
      1. re: Dr. Biggles

        Whew. Sometimes I get over enthusiastic on first bite. Glad you liked it. You probably could go for the $7 1/4 chicken dinner before making the $25 plunge. I'm sure you would get everything but in single portion size.

        Glad you got the torta rather than the burrito on your first try as those tortillas were a little strange.

        The pink things are the beets with onions. They have the same preparation, I think, as that carrot/onion/oregano mixture that sometimes comes on the side with tacos.

        Good description of the dryness. Like some tandoori chickens where it isn't dry because they over cooked it, but that's the way it was meant to be.

        Nice picture. It would make me hungry, but we are still happily working on the food from two days ago.

        I hesitated to menion how clean it is since I'm guessing I was probably there on opening day.

        Too bad about Del Mar. Which type of taco did you order so I can avoid it in the future?


        1. re: rworange

          I haven't mentioned anything ... well because I wanted to see on my own.
          As it turns out a fellow food blogger and friend started going to Palmar when they opened. He is able to list all the wonderful things he's had over the last few years. But semi-recently it's taken a nose dive and this seems to be only a part of it.
          Or the food is unpredictable.
          My past rice portions had been browned in lard and then prepared. Wonderfully rich and perfect. The other day's had been browned in oil and were completely tasteless. The same for the refried beans, no lard and completely tasteless. NO LOVE.
          The carne asada tacos were PILED HIGH with salsa & meat. But the meat didn't even have any caramelization taste let alone smoky goodness of any kind. The fresh salsa was also flavorless and the corn tortillas hadn't been browned. They soaked up the juices and disintegrated. The resounded flavors over the next 30 minutes were not any good either.
          I've also had their fajitas that obviously had been around too long and the cast iron skillet was luke warm, no sizzle. A dinner plate of Chile Colorado was about 20% water! No kidding. A Chicken Mole dinner plate was blah.
          Keep in mind with all that? Other times they were right on. Your guess is as good as mine.
          On the other hand, El Tucan totally blew me away 2 weeks ago. 2 Carne Asada tacos with rice & beans, BEST EVER. Cost me 5 bux and tasted good all day, totally put me in a good mood.


          1. re: rworange

            "Like some tandoori chickens where it isn't dry because they over cooked it, but that's the way it was meant to be."

            Please tell us who's feeding you this so I can avoid this BS.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Just me and my tandoori chicken experiences. Have a good rec?

              Although it was gone quickly on another post a while ago... ok ... I concede, a kebab is not just a kebab (g).


              1. re: rworange

                Like most things, there are more bad examples than good. Tandoori chicken might even suffer more than other preps do. Most recently, I was impressed with the tandoori chicken leg at Daawat. My brother has been back a few times since my one lunch there and says that while the spicing is sometimes milder (he prefers very hot), it's always been cooked correctly. Otherwise, Shalimar on Jones still scores high for me.


        2. Good, good burrito ... LARGE good burrito. Don't even like burritos but would order this again. It has all the good stuff like the beans, rice, and pickled pink onions. The taste is smoky and spicy-hot.

          It seems the salsa change daily. This came with three small cups of salsa. The tomatillo was replaced by a salsa that had the taste of the spicy coating. There was a bright fresh salsa fresca with bright green jalpenios, sweet white onions and tomates. A real tribute to the Mexican flag.

          The I love the salsa verde mixed in with that wonderful rice and topped with a fried egg. Reminds me of so many lunches in Mexico City. It is relly one of the better salsa verdes. My mouth tingles for quite a while after eating it. Clears my sinuses too.

          The owner, Lupe, turns out is from Alcapulco.

          There might be additional items. There were Enchiladas Verde, written on, and then crossed off the menu.

          Handwritten prices are now on the menu. In addition to the 1/4 chicken and wholed chicken, there is a 1/2 chicken dinner for $12.

          Highly recommend this place if you are in the area. Truly a unique take on Mexican.