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Chicken like Boston Chicken used to make

Remember back when Boston Chicken had only one location and the food was decent? Does anyone make chicken like that these days, or is it all that horrible salt-water-injected mass-produced crap?

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  1. The original Boston Chicken wasn't "decent," it was amazing (which is why the only way to be assured of a chicken was to call in the morning and make a reservation)! And not just the chicken, but the sides, too. I haven't had anything that's come close since.

    Has anyone tried The Modern Rotisserie (part of the New England Soup Factory)? I would expect them to put out a decent product.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Blumie

      I've tried it and was very disappointed. I love their soup but they over cook their chickens. I tried it twice in case the first time was a fluke. It was so over cooked that the wings were black and very dried out. The second time, I asked if there were any that were less done because it they were clearly on the verge of having many black/over cooked areas and they said that was how they always make them. I was hoping it would be like the original Boston Chicken. It's not even close. I didn't waste my money on it the second time.

      1. re: catsmeow

        I loved my chicken from The Modern Rotisserie. Moist and really tasty. The sides were a bit inconsistent.

        I've only been once, though.

        1. re: C. Hamster

          It wasn't black on most of it? The last time I went there for soup was about 2-3 weeks ago and I wanted to get the chicken but it was just too well done and he said that's how they make it.

          1. re: catsmeow

            The wings were slightly charred as I recall but not in a bad way. I like white meat and legs and both were delicious. This was maybe in January or February

            I was just thinking of heading over there but now grilling season has arrived.

            And as a side note I am gonna fill up my freezer with the tomato cheddar habanero soup.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              My freezer is full with their soups too!

      2. re: Blumie

        The chicken at the Modern Rotisserie is delicious. It's dark skin is the way I actually like my chicken skin. The meat inside is really moist and tender. They brine it. I always get the creamed spinach and I love their brussel sprouts and kale.

        1. re: macadamianut

          Hmmmm...It's like we're talking about 2 different places. The chicken I got was salty(probably from the brine) and the wings were so over cooked, they weren't edible.

          1. re: catsmeow

            you should try the leg and thigh meat it is always tender. I think the taste of the chicken is so tasty and they use chickens from a farm in Pennsylvania. I also really enjoy their special chicken dishes of the day like marbella with olives and apricots. We got it during the holidays. Chopped liver is to die for!

            1. re: macadamianut

              I also quite liked the chicken at Modern when I had it a couple of weeks ago. I do understand your criticisms, though, cats. I tried munching on the wings and they weren't really edible. I also noticed that the meat was falling off the bone, which made me worry that they leftovers would be dry. They weren't, though, and actually made a delicious chicken salad. That said, I did discard some of the outer parts of the dark meat because it was crusty. Fortunately, our chicken had just come off of the rotisserie so it was pretty moist, but it could be that it gets drier as it sits on the steam table.

              The chicken has an "apple" brine, which I'm assuming is apple juice. I was worried that it would be too sweet for my taste, but it wasn't. The gravy has a hint of sweetness but is still pretty tasty, as are the mashed potatoes and the butternut squash. The mac and cheese was too bland for my taste. It seems to be heavy cream-based and the pasta wasn't soggy, but I was looking for sharper cheese. We liked the parmesan pretzel sticks by the register. I'm blanking on the other side that we tried.

              I also like Russo's chicken. The lemon zest can be a little overpowering in the skin sometimes, though, and the wings are usually blackish and dry just like Modern. That said, it's still probably my favorite.

              I must sheepishly admit that I still enjoy an occasion Boston Market chicken even in its present incarnation and there's a location about 1/2 mile from my house so it's pretty convenient.

        2. re: Blumie

          Marjorie Drucker, who runs NESF and Modern Rotisserie, developed the original recipe for Boston Chicken back in the day. I've only had Modern once, but to me it was VERY reminiscent of the original Boston Chicken.

          1. re: Ruprecht

            This Boston Globe article states that she "helped develop the concent," whatever that means.


            1. re: Blumie

              If I remember its history correctly, I believe Boston Chicken was developed by someone in her family.

              1. re: catsmeow

                I don't think that's correct, but I'm not certain either.

                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                    I just google it and it found that in 1985 Arthur Cores and Steven Kolow opened it. It does mention Marjorie as the creative brain that came up with most of the recipes but talks about her more as like an employee than a founder.

        3. I have not been in over 10 years but what about La Rotisserie in Chestnut Hill.. Was good back 10 years ago!

          1 Reply
          1. re: hargau

            I haven't been there for over a year but remember their chicken as being very good.

          2. This might not be exactly what you are looking for, but the rotisserie chicken at Machu Pichchu Chicken in Somerville is great. You'll have to settle for Peruvian sides but IMHO that is no sacrifice.

            1. The rotisserie Bell and Evans chicken at Russo's is superb. Although usually, I just get one of the natural chickens from the BJs deli for $6.99 (a buck more than the standard Purdue) and call it at that.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                Esperia does a lovely chicken. And since you can also get their excellent tzatsiki and other sides, you can't miss having a good meal.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  What constitutes a natural and unnatural chicken? Aren't all chickens natural?

                  1. re: Trumpetguy

                    The ones from the boneless, skinless chicken farm are very unnatural.

                    1. re: Trumpetguy

                      Clearly, it's got to do with how they're raised. "Natural" is a catch-phrase for some or all of: pasture-raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, I don't know what all else.

                        1. re: Ruprecht

                          That's your interpretation. My interpretation is "read the label, this could be a pretty good chicken."

                  2. Wow, many thanks to all...I had no idea there was so much good stuff out there. And yes, Blume, it WAS amazing and not merely decent. Esperia is near me so I will try that, although I expect to have sadness over the lack of classic Boston Chicken sides. Thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LilBrownBat

                      Sounds like Modern Rotisserie is worth trying, too. Although it's not clear exactly what Marjorie Druker's involvement was with Boston Chicken, it's clear she was involved in the old days, and we all know that she makes a mighty fine soup!

                    2. Just picked up 2 whole chickens for the weekend as I have people staying at my home. I ate a little piece which led to another piece and had to have my son go back and get me another one. It melts in your mouth. also got some mango habanero dipping sauce which is sooo good.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: bear

                          no the modern rotisserie on needham street. I can't keep my hands off that chicken it is so good.

                          1. re: macadamianut

                            Thanks for the reminder. I still remember the delicious chicken salad the leftovers from the Modern chicken made so I need to put it back on the radar screen.

                      1. I don't remember only one location. I do remember two and neither one was in Boston. One was in Cambridge and one was in Brookline and it was amazing.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: mmmjv

                          You are missing the Newtonville original location adjacent to the supermarket over the Pike.

                          1. re: Gordough

                            I never knew about that one. So Boston Chicken had 3 locations, none of them in Boston

                            1. re: mmmjv

                              Yup, but all were awesome. Back then.

                              1. re: mmmjv

                                There was also one in Somerville, in the now-empty space that was last Brunello Bistro. And there was another in Waltham (Lexington Street? near one of those strip malls.)

                                1. re: Stride

                                  And there was one on Rte. 123 in Brockton.

                                  There was a Boston Market in Arlington where Penzey's is now, but I'm not sure if that was a Boston Chicken originally.

                                  1. re: bear

                                    Wasn't the Penzey's a place called the Iowa Grill or something like that?

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Whatever it may have been at various points in between, the Penzey's was originally a Long John Silver. The building design is as distinctive in its own way as Moody's Falafel in Central Square, which used to be a White Tower.

                            2. re: mmmjv

                              The original one was the one in Newtonville, on Austin St. just west of Walnut St. (near the Star Market, as Gordough indicates). That was their only location for some time until they started to expand, I believe by selling franchises.

                            3. There is a small restaurant on Grand Cayman called Chicken Chicken that's the only place I've ever had a rotisserie BETTER than the original Boston Chicken. I know this isn't tremendously helpful since you're looking for a local place, but if you are ever on the island now you know! They used to also have a location in CA but after a quick google search I don't see it. http://www.chicken2.com