Delicious Peruvian Chicken at El Palacio del Pollo, West Orange (Essex County)
I tried the Peruvian rotisserie chicken at El Palacio del Pollo (the Chicken Palace!) on a Friday night a few weeks ago. My dining companion and I got a whole chicken, which comes with their delicious aji verde sauce and a mountain of tasty french fries. (They offered standard-issue packaged mayo or ketchup to go with the fries.)
We also tried their papas a la huancaina, which are a staple dish in Peru. It's not unlike a cold potato salad: The dish consisted of about 8 halves of boiled potatoes, topped with a creamy cheese sauce spiced with aji amarillo, a yellow Peruvian pepper. Two halves of one boiled egg were placed on top.
To drink, we had their chicha morada, which is like an agua fresca, but made of purple corn and spices. It's very refreshing.
Everything we tried was delicious, but neither of us could stop eating the flavorful chicken. Even the white meat was very juicy, and the pieces of chicken were generously-sized. I secretly wanted to hog all the chicken skin for myself, but that would have make me look rude. I don't think it would have been hard for me to eat almost that entire pile of chicken by myself. This is why we didn't try any of the desserts.
The atmosphere on that Friday night was busy, but friendly. There was one server, who did not appear to speak much English. The menus were bilingual, though, if I recall correctly. El Palacio was doing a brisk take-out business at the counter. There seems to be a bar on the other side of the restaurant, which was closed when I was there.
The restaurant is located at 540 Valley Road in West Orange.
Just a follow-up note to my fellow 'hounds: The rotisserie chicken is only served on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
I went back this week and found out the hard way. Instead of chicken, I tried the jalea mixta, which was a huge mound of fried and battered shrimp and calamari and a large filet of fish (sautéed but not battered). The whole mound was topped with lots of sliced onion and served with lime and salsa. There were battered, thick “fries” of yucca root and also some fried potato halves underneath the seafood, which I guess counted as my vegetables for the day. The dish looks like this: http://www.gastronomiaperu.com/receta...
We also tried the arroz chaufa de pollo, or fried rice with chicken. Both main dishes were good. I liked the seafood dish quite a bit. However, I had really been craving the chicken.