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Feb 5, 2013 01:32 PM

El Pollo Regio and/or Best Mexican Chicken

As I've posted in the general Texas forum, as well as Dallas, we were in Texas a few years back and loved eating at this spot called El Pollo Regio (which was located at a fairly sketchy gas station in Austin).

We're coming back to Texas soon and will want to sample it again, but would also love to try other places selling bbq Mexican chicken.

Any suggestions?

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  1. There are places here using the El Regio name but whether they are related to the Austin one or not, I don't know. The name is pretty common, as I'll explain below. I've only been to one of these; it felt very much to me like a chain outlet and it was far from being the best pollo asado I've had in Houston.

    Pollo Asado, by the way, is the Mexican term for what you are looking for; that may help you find other purveyors - they are very common here. There are a couple of operators with numerous locations, El Norteno and La Silla. El Norteno is mostly on the west side, especially along Long Point in Spring Branch where usually there will be 2 mobile units and a brick and mortar location that is rather new. La Silla has a long standing brick and mortar restaurant on the east side and numerous mobile units spread mostly over the east and southeast sides. The El Norteno units are blue, the La Silla are yellow with red trim; both favor the use of buses instead of step vans, probably because those grills take up a lot of room inside.

    Then there are many other independent operators. Pollo asado is very popular here, much of it dispensed from mobile units. The menu is pretty much the same. A difference between El Norteno and La Silla is the latter uses mesquite wood. I have a slight preference for La Silla but it's only a very slight preference.

    I suggest you go to Yelp and type in pollo asado in the search window to pull up all the possible places; both Yelp and Urban Spoon do track mobile operators.

    BTW, Houston regulations prohibit mobile operators providing seating for their customers so if you choose to get your food from a mobile unit, you'll be eating in the car or hightailing it to your hotel or looking for a park nearby.

    El Regio is short for Regiomontana, the name of the mountain overlooking Monterrey, Mexico. La Silla also refers to the mountain as the crest of the mountain forms what looks like a saddle (silla = saddle) and the full name of the El Norteno units is 'El Norteno - Pollos Asados en estilo Monterrey,' so what we have here is charcoal grilled chicken in the style of Monterrey. This is merely because immigration patterns have resulted in lots of people from Monterrey and Nuevo Leon winding up here and Mexican restauranteurs often name their businesses with some reference to where they came from, but pollo asado is popular in many parts of Mexico and I know of one unit, mentioned elsewhere on this board, that offers pollo asado en estilo Sinaloa, referring to the Mexican state of Sinaloa. I've never eaten there and don't know what the difference is from Monterrey style.

    Hope this helps.

    3 Replies
    1. re: brucesw

      I love the chicken at El Norteno, plus the sides of beans, we always get extra. I haven't had these in a couple of years, but the costillas de Puerco, fin de semana, are really good, when available, translates to pork ribs weekends. They're grilled relatively quickly, so aren't as tender as Texas ribs, but the taste is outstanding.

      1. re: James Cristinian

        I went for the 'everything' order once - pollo entero, costillas, fajitas, salchicha, tortillas, onion, peppers - one heck of a lot of food for a rather modest price. Actually, I think I may have gone for the chica rather than the grande order (whole chicken, ribs, fajitas, wiener like plump sausage, etc). That's the only time I tried the ribs.

        Note for the OP: at El Norteno, it will help sometimes if you can speak some Spanish as sometimes the staff doesn't know much English. Oh, and perhaps you should be warned about the salsa verde which can be incendiary.

        1. re: brucesw

          I forgot to mention the brick and mortar place on Long Point is closed. I was finally going to go one day instead of the truck, but alas.