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Kibbee Nayee

Jacalito Rotisserie Chicken and Tex-Mex Grill - Pollo a la Brasa on Alban Rd in Springfield

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I have mentioned before that the national dish of Springfield is rotisserie chicken. Jacalito is in the same little strip mall as Bozzelli's, and therefore I never tried it because of my typical beeline to Bozzelli's. Now I am culinarily conflicted, because Jacalito is not only good, it's damned good.

Two mentions up front -- it is a mom-n-pop single restaurant, and it is honest enough to put "Tex-Mex" on its window and in its title. That's a good start.

I ordered carry out today, and the order was two whole chickens, sides of Mexican rice, a la charra beans and house salads. Plus an order of guacamole. Oh, and enough of the green and white sauces to drown in. Total tab was about $32.

When I got home, I had a few things to do as I walked in the door, so I didn't tuck in until about 30 minutes after leaving Jacalito. The time lag didn't have a negative effect on the food at all. The chicken was juicy and succulent, the rice and the beans were really good and the salad was fresh and crispy. The guacamole was also fresh and chunky, not as spicy as I would normally like, but quite tasty. Three adults ate, or overate, until full, and lots of good food is left over for tomorrow.

There may be a dozen or more of these places in and around Springfield right now, but Jacalito is second to none. I can't wait to try their soft tacos or huevos rancheros in the near future.

www.jacalitogrill.com

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I've been to Jacalito for lunch several times as I work nearby (almost always carry out). Of those things that I've tried, the rotisserie chicken is quite good and the best thing they offer. The steak tacos are serviceable. The ground beef tacos were reminiscent of Taco Bell. I only got a cheese enchilada once but it was served without any sauce on it; I don't know if that is normal or if it was a mistake (I had already left when I saw that it was sauceless). I usually just stick with the rotisserie chicken.

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My new favorite "dish" ( in quotes because I have to assemble it myself, so it's off the menu) is a pile of Jacalito's good rice, topped with their satisfying black beans (cooked with pork), topped with hand shredded rotisserie chicken, and then liberally doused with their white and green sauces. One of the better bowls of goodness to be had....(having it right now as I type)....

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Jacalito is becoming my "go to" rotisserie chicken restaurant in the Springfield area, and apparently it's not just mine. The owner told me today that the Latino emplyees of a rival chicken restaurant in Lorton come to Jacalito to get their food.

Tonight I picked up a chicken with the sides of salad, rice and beans. The beans are really good, cooked with pork and redolent with umami. The chicken is the best around here, although I haven't tried the dozens of such places up and down Rt. 1.

Also had the seafood combination soup and the chicken-topped Jacalito salad. That soup was a hit. I could spoon that soup over a pile of their rice and call it a day.

Reliable, tasty, affordable and family-owned are some of my favorite words for a restaurant, and this one is all of those.

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Jacalito is good, my lunch buddy brought me here & we had a good lunch, but it was a response to our closer lunch space, El Paso, which is better, even more inexpensive (for.basic Mexican lunch specials) & Su Pollo (unparalleled, for roast chicken)...just grateful, that I live near many bargain priced options...I think about what It takes to run a restaurant, ,miserable business, that.....

I'm also right down the road from Bozzelli's at Ft. Belvoir-awesome cheese subs, although these days, I'm avoiding carbs...

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I've been coming to Jacalito since 2013 probably. It was very good value for the flavor/quantity/quality, the counter guy/part owner (Lorenzo, I believe) was super nice also. Recently they've been through management/owner changes (Lorenzo mentioned that it's getting tougher and tougher, more work with less pay off- so I guess he got bought out by the other partner). They've tried to do full service at night (with waiter taking order, instead of counter service), they've got alcohol license with some limited Spanish beer selection. Menu is the same, but I've noticed the quality went down, seasoning is usually off and some items just don't taste the same any more. All that, but the prices are still great and portion sizes huge, especially the roasted chicken. My favorites used to be the steak burrito, dark meat chicken with yucca fries and tres leches cake. The tres leches is probably the best I've had anywhere. The texture is just amazing. Alfajores are not bad also. Will try a couple more times to see if it was just a hiccup, otherwise I'll frequent El Paso more often instead.

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That little plaza on Alban Rd has three really good eating options -- Jacalito, Bozzelli's flagship, and Afghan Bistro.

My solution is to grab takeout from Jacalito, order delivery from Bozzelli's, and dine in at Afghan Bistro. So far, this system is working just fine for me....

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