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May 19, 2008 12:16 PM

Machu Picchu's new chicken joint

I like to try a place a few times before posting, but Machu Picchu expanded into a big space across the street at exactly the wrong time and they could use the business. The big-dig style Somerville Ave construction is hurting all of the businesses in Union Square and MP is no exception. I wasn't BOWLED OVER by the ceviche or the aji de gallina when I've visited before but the family did maintain their little storefront right in the tip of the building in the heart of the Square, and they opened a "pollos a la brasa" place. This is rotisserie chicken Peruvian style. It is scrumptious.

$8.99 gets you half a chicken, fries and a salad. I skipped the fries and the salad was as you'd imagine -- iceberg, a few cukes, a sweet creamy dressing. But the chicken is great -- moist and juicy, rubbed with Peruvian spices they import and cooked on a spit like they do back home.

The little room has been redone, with a pretty little bar and colorful walls. They have a liquor license which is all too rare in the 'Ville ie: they can make you a Pisco sour. Yes, the road-work and traffic are not nice, but I found a metered spot on the first try. Anyway, do check it out. I think this will be a perfect place to pick up dinner on a hot summer night.

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  1. And something important they did get a permit for a charcoal rotisserie (just like El Chalan). When I initially posted on this that info wasn't available and early visitors didn't post it. The larger Machu Picchu was also advertising some specials recently (I think sandwich board lunch specials).

    1. Went to the smaller Machu Picchu yesterday. With possibility of eating in the car, we ordered 2 sandwiches and fried yuca. The yuca came with huancaina sauce, a aji amarillo sauce made with queso fresco. Very good, but I probably could have used double the portion of the sauce. For sandwiches we tried the grilled chicken and the "Peruanisimo". The grilled chicken was nicely flavored, and came with lettuce tomato and huancaina suce. The Peruanisimo, however, was the standout. A version of the classic Peruvian pork sandwich, it came with salsa criolla (limed onions), hot rocoto pepper slices, and a layer of sweet potato. That sandwich is a reason in and of itself to go back. Both sandwiches came with fries. There was maybe one free table while I was waiting for my food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: El Guapo

        Hey El Guapo -- thanks for posting here. I'm glad others have been (should have known itaunus would beat us to the punch) and to know I need the Peruanisimo.

        I think the charcoal grill is the main reason why I prefer this chicken to that at J+J which is not far away. J+J has a very garlicky marinade, and flavorful chicken, but whatever they cook it on isn't as nice as the charcoal at MP. The chicken doesn't seem as big as at MP either. I reheated the rest for dinner, and it crisps right up.

        1. re: El Guapo

          El G, thanks for the Peruanisimo tip. Had one the other day and dug it. It's a sneaky sandwich. The first bite, honestly, I thought "Meh." But a few bites later, I was convinced of its goodness. I can't say if the flavors just grew on me or mixed better w/each bite or what. Will have to get another and find out. You know, just to be scientific and all.

        2. Does the rotisserie chicken joint have its own name, or is it just an extension of Machu Picchu?

          2 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I guess that Globe article explains it: same name, close by to the full-service restaurant.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              On the sign the most prominent words are "Pollos a la brasa".

            2. Do you know how much for a whole chicken w/no sides for take out?

              7 Replies
              1. re: Taralli

                Dunno -- I only noticed the dinners with fries and salads. So you might call to see if they'll do it without the accompaniments.

                From their website:

                Machu Picchu is proud to announce our new location Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill at 25 Union Sq. in Somerville, were the Peruvian Rotisseire Chicken it's our Main Dish visit us to experience one of Peru's most famous dish "pollos a la Brasa" Reconized in peru as a" National Patrimony" for it's unique flavor, freshness and Aroma.
                For info of our new location call us @617-623-7972

                1. re: yumyum

                  Just called. Not sure she understood my question, but said whole chix were $16.55!

                  1. re: Taralli

                    Unfortunately, that could make sense, (even though I also think it sounds $$) as the original poster cited a 1/2 chicken dinner costing $8.99. And obviously the fries and side salad weren't a great value add...

                      1. re: Taralli

                        Well shoot. It's good, but not that good. I guess they've got to recoup on that cute little bar somehow.

                    1. re: Taralli

                      That's pricy. I am trying to remember what the J+J chicken costs. I'm sure it's not that much.

                      1. re: Taralli

                        Well if it is a good size bird, and you get two meals out of it for $16, I suppose it isn't that bad.

                        I have no clue how big the chickens are there but from the photos in the Somerville Journal they looked to be pretty good size.

                  2. Friends and I had a really good dinner here last night. Shared the quinoa salad (fabulous), fried yucca (very good) and peruvian corn and cheese app (interesting but not worth repeating in our collective opinions). Served with all of these were three sauces that were all very good -- much "scientific" sampling to decide which of the 3 we liked best. Tough call. Then we all got the chicken which was delicious -- smoky and flavorful, and quite moist. Lovely service as well. We'll be back. (Parking was easy, just around the corner.)