Short Order: Super Pollo, Costa Mesa

IMG_2960Super Pollo, Costa Mesa (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

No matter the time of day when I’ve visited Super Pollo, their 4-by-4-foot grill is always covered with chickens, split in half, smoldering and smoking, intoxicating the air with their alluring perfume. Even when there’s no one actually eating in the tiny restaurant, there is always a steady flow of take-out orders piling up on the counter.

Super Pollo (Photo by Joshua Sudock, OC Register)

The person who takes your order will ask whether you want lemon and garlic. “Almost everyone gets it that way,” they tell me. So I try it both ways, with the lemon and garlic, and just plain. If you go with the garlic, be prepared for an overwhelming onslaught. They don’t hold back, completely smothering the chicken with handfuls of fresh, raw chopped garlic and a shower of lemon. Personally, I prefer it plain, with creamy red chili sauce on the side for dipping. With just one bite, it’s easy to see what the fuss is all about. The chicken is superb, with its skin so crisp while the meat underneath is still so tender and plump.

They have a full menu of other Mexican standards: burritos, tacos, tostadas, chilies rellenos, with more than just chicken. But it’s the chicken you should focus on, and the chicken tostada is also terrific. Of course I can’t resist the basic enchiladas, too, just plain with cheese and red sauce. Simplicity at its best.

This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register. To subscribe to the paper, go here. Meanwhile, I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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