Though the daily menu of chicken and potatoes demonstrates the excellence of Monica and Rene’s cooking, the buffet hints at its breadth. When we visited, the buffet consisted of eight or ten different dishes. Usually I’m not a fan of buffets, but the food here, like Indian buffet dishes, consisted largely of stewy things that hold well and, in fact, improve with time. The sauces were intriguingly spiced, and meats stewed to perfect tenderness. When I asked Rene about the spicing in one of the dishes, he returned to a theme common to his explanations of all Pollito’s dishes: time. Taking the time to do it right.
Their old-school, patient approach works. Every single dish was delicious, including the initially odd-seeming cold baked potato on lettuce, topped with a bright yellow sauce made with yellow peppers, cheese, cream, and crackers. It was kind of a Peruvian rarebit, and it was really tasty. Other favorites for me were the pork with dry potatoes, which reminded me of a deeply flavored posole (minus the posole); the incredibly aromatic cilantro rice; and the spicy, creamy, homey chicken in aji sauce.
While no individual dish seemed too spicy, by the end of the meal my mouth and throat were gently alight, and I appreciated the mellow white beans and the chilled chicha morada. And the flan.
The flan is the one item not made in-house. Rene explained that they used to make their own flan, until a customer brought in his wife’s flan for them to try. They immediately agreed to let the customer supply the flan – they call each night and order how many they think they’ll need. It’s made fresh daily. And it is probably the best flan I’ve ever had. The custard is extremely rich, dense, and smoothly creamy. The caramel sauce is very dark, with a bitter edge that sets the sweetness off perfectly. It’s flan to dream about.
If you haven’t had a chance to try Pollito con Papas yet, now’s the time. And if you have, you should see how it’s changed. As Rene said to me when I asked if they were still cash-only, “Pollito is all grown up.”