What Aji Sauce was made for: Suprema de Pollo at Pollos el Brasero #3
I never got Aji Sauce…
I mean, I love the flavor… the creaminess, the herbal notes and of course the touch of heat… but it never seemed to go GREAT with anything I ever ordered at Peruvian restaurants, instead it just got in the way. I mean, the bread on the table always comes nicely buttered, GREAT juicy Peruvian chicken can stand on its own, and the rice goes so much better with a spoonful of creamy Peruvian beans on top. And so I never really used much of the wonderful condiment…
That was until, we stumbled into Pollos el Brasero #3
Located in an aging strip mall along Venice on the corner with Cloverdale, you wouldn’t think much of the place from the outside… in fact, you wouldn’t think of it much going in either… Tiny little place, about six tables crammed in to a very small dining area. The prices are moderate... perhaps a little high for such lack of ambiance... But once you notice the care and warmth that the family that runs the place and the steady stream of patrons happily eating huge plates of various types of Peruvian food, you get a sense that there is truly something more to this place.
What first brought us here was their Pollos, which are roasted over a wood flame. They look rather impressive, but overall, found them lacking in flavor and found them rather over done…
Not even the BEST Aji could have improved it sadly…
Nevertheless, on that visit we noticed that they also carried a wide variety of Peruvian specialties, some we had never heard before and decided to give them one more shot. We were so glad we did and ended up returning a third time just to make sure it’s not a fluke… We tried both the familiar and unfamiliar dishes…
Camaron Saltado ($10.99). Their version of Peruvian french fry Stirfry is no way in the league of Marios (My absolute favorite) but way better than most other versions I’ve tried. They spice their potatoes In such a way that it really augments the major flavors of the shrimp, veggies and soy sauce.
Tallarin Saltado de Camarones ($10.99). I’ve never been a big fan of Peruvian Spaghetti because they tend to cook it a little more past Al Dente than I like… this version is no exception… but the flavors of this dish are still bright and not starch laden. It never feels mushy or heavy. This is a FAVORITE dish of the Mexican neighbors that flock to this place… you see veteranos ordering the verde version with a huge piece of Bistec on top (Which is not on the menu, but they will be MORE than happy to make… if you are willing to accept the challenge…)
Causa Limeña ($4.50). Luckily they have a few pictures of the dishes up on the windows because I had never heard of Causas… and the menu description of “Mashed potato filled w/chicken salad” did not translate to tasty to me. But man… it is… It’s a torte made with fluffy and spiced mashed potatoes and filled with a traditional ‘latino’ chicken salad and then topped with their chile mayo. It’s insanely rich (technically an appetizer in their menu) but very flavorful with such fun textures... Causas are now on my list of favorite foods… and I look forward to going to other Peruvian restaurants and trying their versions (Mo-Chica I’m looking at you next!!)
And finally the dish that made want to return a third time (Which is a huge thing for me since I rarely return to places two times…) Suprema de Pollo ($10.49). I love fried chicken. I love chicken nuggets, I love chicken milanesa. This dish is none of these… but it is all of them. A HUGE pounded Chicken Breast, breaded and fried. The most amazing thing is that despite being so thin, the chicken is wonderfully juicy! The breading is flavorful and very refined, crisp and flakey but not the slightest bit greasy. And It’s so tender, you can easily cut it into bite sized pieces and enjoy with a generous squeeze of Aji sauce (Which due to the heavy Mexican clientele is a bit on the spicy side here!) on top.
Enjoying this dish for the second time and using darn near half the squeezy bottle of Aji Sauce with it, I had my relevation… Aji sauce is too wonderful to be confined to Peruvian cusine… it makes the ULTIMATE Chicken Nugget dipping sauce PERIOD. You absolutely MUST try this and now excuse me which I write a letter to McDonalds…
Pollos El Brasero No 3
5163 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Things to note.
Tortillas are extra. When Dommy first brought home the Pollos con frijoles y Arroz I was disappointed there were not automatically tortillas included. They do have them you have to ask and it is .30 for 3.
The leftover Milanesa [you're not going to eat that WHOLE thing are you] makes wonderful tortas later. We were even considering to get them to Slice their bread like a hoagie and make our own sandwich then and there.
This Place is run by a family of Korean Peruvians. It is an Odd experience looking at one of the owners who is taking you order and realize she sounds in Spanish exactly like Dommy's Mother. and her english is flawless and accent-less as well. Though she chided me for not knowing enough spanish.
Excellent. :) Thanks for the info on the Suprema de Pollo. It looks pretty good; I can't wait to try it.
(BTW, I agree with your opening statement - I never "got" Aji Sauce as well... I've loved the good Peruvian dishes without adding extra Aji Sauce over the dishes, but I'll try it with the Suprema. :)