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Crisp & Juicy, A Local Peruvian Chicken Chain With Multiple Area Locations


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There have been the Peruvian chicken threads, but I decided to start one just for Crisp & Juicy. I went to the one in the Wheaton Mall and got the usual chicken and fried yucca. But also decided to get the fried plantains and potato salad. The plantains were okay - not caramelized the way I usually like them. The potato salad was really good though, with green beans and corn, it gave it a fresher, crisper edge instead of the heavier slog.

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I've gone to the store near Olney at Leisure World plaza several times over the past few years including once last month. The chicken is great. The skin not always crisp, but the chicken is very juicy and flavorful with hints of smoke. I also like the spicy mayo-like sauces they give you, although I can only handle the "mild" which is pretty spicy. I haven't been too impressed with the sides, but the chicken makes up for it.

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I generally don't single out individual locations of chain restaurants (have you noticed?), but the Arlington Crisp & Juicy has what can legitimately be termed "Deathbed Chicken."

Although I never got to try Loiseau's Poularde de Bresse a la Vapeur, I've had some pretty good birds in my day - including, of course, the magnificent version at Palena. But if someone were to tell me I could have chicken only one more time in my life, I might just choose the one at the Arlington Crisp & Juicy ($9.75 for a whole). I've had it a million times, and it's consistently great.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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But if someone were to tell me I could have chicken only one more time in my life, I might just choose the one at the Arlington Crisp & Juicy ($9.75 for a whole). I've had it a million times, and it's consistently great.

This is one of the few places where you and I really part company. I've had mixed results here over the years to the point where I don't even bother anymore.

Lee Highway C&J can't hold the Wilson Blvd. Pollo Rico's jock.

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Too much cumin in that jock.

Blasphemer!

Forget the skin. Throw that out and just compare the meat. PR is always moist, but never wet. Very consistent. C&J is sometimes soggy, sometimes dry, sometimes right on. You never know what you're getting, and it's sad that it depends on the time of day you're there (when it's slow the chicken is particularly inconsistent). Sauces are never as good as on Wilson Blvd.

I think C&J is closer in comparison to Caribbean Grill than PR, to be honest.

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I generally don't single out individual locations of chain restaurants (have you noticed?), but the Arlington Crisp & Juicy has what can legitimately be termed "Deathbed Chicken."

But if someone were to tell me I could have chicken only one more time in my life, I might just choose the one at the Arlington Crisp & Juicy ($9.75 for a whole). I've had it a million times, and it's consistently great.

I used to live withing smelling distance (during all times of the day) of the Arlington Crisp and Juicy. On the nights I didn't eat it, pure torture.

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Since fuzzy510 just posted about El Pollo Rico, I'll add that the original (Lee Heights Shopping Center) Crisp and Juicy had an off-night tonight - a whole chicken ($9.95) had dry breast meat (not always the case here), and a rub that was more herbaceous than usual, which I think incorporated some of the same spices in their green sauce. The chicken seemed like it had been out of the oven for a good while (this was at about 8:15).

I've heard of consistency problems at this location, and tonight I experienced it first-hand. However, they did include an extra 1/4 dark-meat (maybe because it was getting late; maybe because I left a dollar tip).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I was at the El Pollo Rico in Arlington last Saturday night. My guess is that they brine the chicken which allows for the succulent juicy flavor of its meat which is unmatched by any other. But I continue to favor both Don Pollo in Bethesda and the Lee HIghway Crisp and Juicy chicken over El Pollo Rico. Part of the reason is the flavor of the skin which I also believe is a bit crisper at Don Pollo. Additionally, I prefer the dips at both over El Pollo Rico.

Still, Arlington's El Pollo Rico is an incredible operation with four rotisseries and only french fries and deli slaw for sides. On this visit there must have been well over 100 people in there.

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The best solution for my "Dining in Westminster" query was to stop at the Crisp & Juicy in the Leisure World shopping center off 97. I've probably stopped here 10 times since last year and I've never thought this location came close to El Pollo Rico or my experiences at Don Pollo, but it's still the best take out option on my route from Bethesda to Westminster and I'm glad it's there.

Pax,

Brian

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I used to live withing smelling distance (during all times of the day) of the Arlington Crisp and Juicy. On the nights I didn't eat it, pure torture.

I feel your pain! I work nearby too, and when the wind is out of the east it is hard not immediately crossing the street and ordering a half chicken with a side of the beans and rice. That said, they are getting a lot more hit or miss this past year or so. I had a dry bird a month ago, and a slightly underdone one that did a number on my stomach a couple months before that. I tend to nuke my birds for 30 seconds now, which is pitiful. El Pollo Rico is a good second best but their herb rub just tastes off, maybe it is the cumin, I don't know, but it doesn't pass the sniff test. Crisp & Juicy, a great rotisserie bird, though not as far in front of the pack, or flock, if you will, as it used to be.

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The Lee Heights location was quite busy at around 7pm last night for a quick whole chicken carryout order. I was sad that they ran out of Fried Plantains, though, but at least they still had Fried Yuca.

The bird wasn't as flavorful as it may have been in the past, with only one other experience to compare. The last time the whole chicken was dry and old-tasting, but this time, the meat was juicier and tender. There was not much herb run on the chicken at all this time, which was a bit odd to me.

My cousin enjoyed the experience, but later commented, "it's good, but why get this when you can get the same rotisserie chicken in the grocery stores for less?" Oh well, I tried, I guess.

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The Falls Church C&J is a short drive, that's the good part. The bad part is that the last time I got my chicken and yucca there, I thought that perhaps they completely forgot to season the bird. :D

I hope the Lee Heights branch of C&J gets in the groove soon, I'm moving to that area next month.

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Expanding into DC! Meant to post it a few days ago, but now can't remember the exact location...I think it's Tenleytown?

That's right, goodeats. I just found out that Crisp & Juicy's latest location has opened in Tenleytown at 4533 Wisconsin Ave. Early reports (from another board) are that the chicken is quite good, moist w/ crispy skin. Am looking forward to trying it soon!

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That's right, goodeats. I just found out that Crisp & Juicy's latest location has opened in Tenleytown at 4533 Wisconsin Ave. Early reports (from another board) are that the chicken is quite good, moist w/ crispy skin. Am looking forward to trying it soon!

Thanks for the update. Now I know what we're having for dinner, LOL. Except for the little vegetarian whose guitar lesson takes me to T'town every Wed afternoon. Am I right in assuming that there's not much for her there?

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Thanks for the update. Now I know what we're having for dinner, LOL. Except for the little vegetarian whose guitar lesson takes me to T'town every Wed afternoon. Am I right in assuming that there's not much for her there?

She can gnaw on some yuca and plantains while she's waiting for her tofu to defrost at home. :rolleyes:

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I tried the Silver Spring branch this past week, ordering the quarter dark-meat dinner: one full leg, the kind of dinner roll I just throw in the trash, a small salad and yucca fries (paid extra, I think) for around $6.73. The fries were great, even the hard, thin, over-saturated small bits. If tiny, the salad (I wish you could order fewer fries and a much larger salad w the meal, though I suspect you could a la carte) was nonetheless far better than any I've ever had at a fast-food joint. Somebody else was happily shoveling in yellow rice w beans; it looked good.

The chicken, like Kenny's, was quite moist, flavorful meat (if not distinctly seasoned), though in this case without the gritty spice rub. I have yet to enjoy crispy skin on one of these chickens. Nothing yet compares w one's own dry-brined roasted chicken at home.

Is there a particular seasoning one ought to expect on a Peruvian roasted chicken?

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Thanks for the update. Now I know what we're having for dinner, LOL. Except for the little vegetarian whose guitar lesson takes me to T'town every Wed afternoon. Am I right in assuming that there's not much for her there?

You're welcome. The guitar-playing vegetarian can get sides of yucca (but FYI, I've heard that they're better at some locations than others, or maybe it depends on how soft or crispy you like them) and plantains. There's also salad and sweet and mashed potatoes. If she's still hungry, there's always the salad bar and other good stuff at Whole Foods close by.

P.S. I'm going to try to make it there this week and can't wait to try the sauces (spicy hot pink one and a medium yellow one). Have yet to find a sauce for Peruvian chicken as heavenly as Pio Pio's (in New York) green sauce, but I'm keeping an open mind.

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She can gnaw on some yuca and plantains while she's waiting for her tofu to defrost at home. :rolleyes:

re what will be defrosting. Cheese and peas (aka mattar paneer) more likely, LOL! That tends to be her default. Although maybe I'll be more indulgent and put on some sushi rice before I leave home.

Just looked up the menu. Am I correct in deducing from your (yucca/plantain) recommendations that the rice & beans aren't any good? Or is the chicken just so much better that you aren't going to waste any space on something so mundane?

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The best-laid plans, LOL... My husband called to say he was just going out for lunch at 3:30, so there went my bring-chicken-home-for-dinner-at-6pm scenario. But I was still eager to give our new Crisp & Juicy at try, so I decided to stop in for a late afternoon snack. (I was being kind to the little vegetarian, remembering that Roast Chicken was the one dish she desperately wanted to learn to make right before she had her conversion experience.)

The chicken was good, but not to die for. Sauce was ok, but not my kind of thing (green would be much better). Fries were totally unexceptional (I ended up pitching most of them, along with most of the roll). Haven't tried the salad yet (it looked really cold and uninviting). I think, for me, this will just serve as a superior substitute for the occasional supermarket chicken.

Forget it, Rocks. It's Tenleytown.

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I stopped by with a friend earlier this evening for a late dinner. We were both disappointed! We ordered chicken plus sides of yucca, fries, rice, and plantains plus a couple of Inca Colas. I wasn't planning on ordering so many sides; I would have been happy with just the yucca and plantains, but my friend is Brazilian and wanted to eat the rice mixed with fries the Brazilian way. The chicken was flavorful, but quite greasy. The yucca was good and crispy, the rice was mushy, and the fries were absolutely inedible (just like smithhemb, we ended up trashing them). The only things that we really liked were the plantains and the spicy (salmon-colored) sauce. The medium (yellow) sauce was totally bland, and the green sauce had too much garlic for our taste (and is nothing like the amazing green sauce I know from Pio Pio).I may give this place another try, but I'm in no hurry. I much prefer Super Pollo and El Pollo Rico in Virginia (and of course, Pio Pio in NYC).

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So sorry to hear Lola had a similar experience (I was half-hoping I just caught them between birds or shifts of something -- I went at an odd time of day). My side salad also ended up in the trash. As I said, it looked cold and uninviting. What I didn't realize -- until it defrosted!! -- was that it had actually been partially frozen.

Why is it always a bad sign when you see a sliced tomato on top of lettuce? I mean sliced tomatoes are just fine in caprese. But in green salads they seem to scream "We don't care about salad!!"

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So sorry to hear Lola had a similar experience (I was half-hoping I just caught them between birds or shifts of something -- I went at an odd time of day). My side salad also ended up in the trash. As I said, it looked cold and uninviting. What I didn't realize -- until it defrosted!! -- was that it had actually been partially frozen.

Why is it always a bad sign when you see a sliced tomato on top of lettuce? I mean sliced tomatoes are just fine in caprese. But in green salads they seem to scream "We don't care about salad!!"

Sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience either. Now that you mention it, there is something weird about the salad at C&J. I didn't order one (we ordered sides a la carte), but another patron got into a heated discussion about the salad. I couldn't make out what exactly was being said as music was playing the background, but the guy who was complaining was none too pleased. Also, we didn't like the atmosphere inside the restaurant (rather institutional looking with loud music); sitting at one of the outside tables or taking the food to go would have been better. I too was hoping that I caught them at a bad time. Was lamenting that we could have gone to Guapo's and had some delicious fajitas or a really good lomo saltado, and it wouldn't have cost us that much more.

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I bought another half bird with yucca the other day at the Lee Hwy Crisp & Juicy. Outstanding, both the bird and the yucca were prepared just about as well as they have ever been done. Which is odd because over the past year I have gotten 3 bad birds, 1 dry and 2 underdone. I started microwaving my chicken because it was still bloody at the bone. And the beans and rice had so much garlic once that was nearly an 1/8 of an inch thick at the bottom. I have never liked the Rte 7 chicken as much as the Rte 29 Lee Hwy ones, not sure why they are so different, or why the quality dropped last winter and spring. For a while I was giving El Pollo Rico the edge in quality, but not anymore.

That having been said, I have never liked the salad at any of the C&J's, they just don't do it well. It is good to see that they got their game back with the birds, the yucca and the beans and rice, guess they will never be any good in the salad department. I have the feeling that salads just aren't a peruvian thing.

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I recently ventured to the Falls Church location and had an outstanding bird, true to name, both crisp & juicy! The sides here are what distinguishes it from EPR, my previous Peruvian Chicken mainstay. The yuca fries and fried plantains were yummy, the slaw was solid, and the regular fries, just OK. But there are actually multiple options! A whole chicken and these four sides for only $25. For quality and quantity, you cant beat that.

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Dropped in a little before close the other night at the Lee Highway location and the bird was neither crisp nor juicy. HOWEVER, the flavor was outstanding, better than Wild chicken or Pollo Rico, even in such reduced circumstances. The newbie with me concurred and quite liked it. So aim not be the last customer of the night and all should be well.

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Dropped in a little before close the other night at the Lee Highway location and the bird was neither crisp nor juicy. HOWEVER, the flavor was outstanding, better than Wild chicken or Pollo Rico, even in such reduced circumstances. The newbie with me concurred and quite liked it. So aim not be the last customer of the night and all should be well.

We get chicken from this location all the time -- always juicy, generally crisp (and we're usually earlier than close). The flavor is so good, the sauces are great (I like to alternate the yellow and the red [really pink] sauces), and the plantains when they have them are everything I want in a plantain - sweet, soft on the inside, browned and crisp in places, and flavorful. I'm also a fan of the black beans and rice, and the sweet potatoes (mashed or pureed, with nuts on top). One of our favorite quick and delicious meals.

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We get chicken from this location all the time -- always juicy, generally crisp (and we're usually earlier than close). The flavor is so good, the sauces are great (I like to alternate the yellow and the red [really pink] sauces), and the plantains when they have them are everything I want in a plantain - sweet, soft on the inside, browned and crisp in places, and flavorful. I'm also a fan of the black beans and rice, and the sweet potatoes (mashed or pureed, with nuts on top). One of our favorite quick and delicious meals.

I like alternating between the sauces too, and there's always the dilemma of using them for the yucca or the chicken - there never seems to be enough, and they're mandatory for the yucca.

In terms of pure taste, dipping the chicken in those two sauces is bliss; in terms of fat content, well, some things are best done in the dark.

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Dropped in a little before close the other night at the Lee Highway location and the bird was neither crisp nor juicy. HOWEVER, the flavor was outstanding, better than Wild chicken or Pollo Rico, even in such reduced circumstances. The newbie with me concurred and quite liked it. So aim not be the last customer of the night and all should be well.

I used to live about 2 blocks from here, and it's still my favorite of the C&J locations. The aromas are so amazing there because of the tiny amount of space. Probably the quality drop off is related to the time of day, as I still drop in occasionally and the bird is as good as always.

(I like to alternate the yellow and the red [really pink] sauces)

I always order the Chimichurri sauce and the employee -- whomever is filling my order -- almost always give me a look that says "Why do you not want the yellow or pink sauce? Moron!" The answer is I like the Chimichurri better :-)

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For better, or for worse, it [Café Parisien] is going to be a Chipotle (they're hiring now - this wouldn't be as irritating if Homemade Pizza Co. wasn't already right there). This is going to hurt Crisp & Juicy.

I don't "hate" Chipotle, but they're not at all "gourmet" like they claim to be, and they use *way* too much sodium.

A few years ago all the stores in Lee Heights Shopping Center would be eligible to participate in Small Business Saturday which takes place tomorrow. Sadly, the mom-and-pop stores in that strip mall are being replaced by national chains.

I certainly hope Crisp & Juicy doesn't get replaced by a chain - it's our go-to place for rotisserie chicken. So much better than the rotisserie chicken at a supermarket, and the sauces are addictive (especially the creamy pink and creamy yellow sauce -- I usually alternate sauces for each bite because they're both so good). Love their plantains, rice and black beans, and pureed sweet potatoes with a sprinkling of nuts on top. Great for meals w/somewhat picky kids b/c they can just have chicken and we can enjoy all the sides with ours.

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I strayed from the chicken last night and got an order of Arroz Chaufa, which is basically fried rice. I was intrigued by the description on the menu, which i don't recall in full (and is unfortunately absent from their website), but remember it including dark meat, egg, scallion, and I think some additional ingredients. This is not a pre-mixed entree that they scoop out and serve, but something they fry up on order. I have to admit, I was excited. Alas, it didn't live up to expectations -- it was really bland. I added salt, which helped a good deal, but still left me wanting. Oh well, it happens. I think I'll give the Hot Argentine Sausage a go next time.

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So, on Friday I gave the Hot Argentine Sausage sandwich a go, and it was delicious! It came grilled to order (probably was par cooked) and was served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, and grilled peppers. There was also some kind of special, mystery sauce, which I don't think was one of the other three sauces they offer when getting chicken. Both the sausage and sauce had good flavor, and for me, the right amount of heat, tho I would imagine those that seek out spicy foods would be disappointed. It was so good i damn near went back on Saturday to make sure it wasn't a fluke, but went to Elevation Burger instead. Anyway, I look forward to giving it another go.

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Some news on the FC branch of Crisp & Juicy courtesy of the Falls Church News-Press:

Crisp & Juicy is relocating its Broad Street restaurant to 7500 Leesburg Pike in the Tysons Station Shopping Center. As reported last week by the News-Press, the current Crisp & Juicy site at 913 W. Broad Street will become an Einstein Bros. Bagels in March.

The only problem I see with this is that it will be within walking distance from my domicile. I need to take out a restraining order against myself.

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Some news on the FC branch of Crisp & Juicy courtesy of the Falls Church News-Press:

Crisp & Juicy is relocating its Broad Street restaurant to 7500 Leesburg Pike in the Tysons Station Shopping Center. As reported last week by the News-Press, the current Crisp & Juicy site at 913 W. Broad Street will become an Einstein Bros. Bagels in March.

The only problem I see with this is that it will be within walking distance from my domicile. I need to take out a restraining order against myself.

Wow, I was just there fairly recently. Tysons Station Shopping Center is where the Trader Joe's is - that shopping center is in *dire* need of a decent restaurant (as is Idylwood Plaza (across Route 7, with Whole Foods)).

It's hard to think of Crisp & Juicy as a "restaurant anchor," but with these two shopping centers, it is (with apologies to Burger 7).

Note, however, that Taco Bamba is a 9-iron away from Idylwood Plaza.

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OK, well, the new Falls Church location opened this week. I decided to get a whole chicken, thinking I'd get some sandwiches out of it. The new space is in the former post office on the side of the strip shopping center, and is cramped, especially around the ordering and pickup counter. Silly me, thinking I'd get a whole chicken that was rotisseried. I got a styrofoam box of a chicken hacked into four pieces. Not sure it was all from the same bird either. It was overcooked and lacking flavor.

I can do much better with a $4.99 whole bird from Wegman's. So much for C'nJ.

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I think about that sometimes when I pick up chicken from Su Pollo (I think it's $9 for a half chicken, a side (I usually get rice), sauces (white & green) & an afterthought salad (iceberg/carrot)- w/ a whole chicken ($5 or $6) from Costco, I will always go for Su Pollo. But then I justify it by throwing the bones in a crockpot, to make broth to throw over the pups' dinner. (Ok, I could do that w/ the Costco carcass, too- don't spoil my justification.) Su Pollo makes delicious chicken.

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6 hours ago, weezy said:

My sister and I stopped here [Coco Rico, Springfield] for lunch on Saturday as we were in the area and both had been wondering about it.  Each of us got a 1/4 dark meat chicken plate.  I got steamed veggies and plantains for sides, she got yucca and black beans.  The chicken skin was flabby, chicken itself was overcooked, stringy and no hint of marinade or charcoal flavor to it.  Decidedly meh chicken.  The sides, however, were perfection.  Yucca was greaseless, hot, puffy, light and crispy, beans were smokey and creamy tender, plantains were caramelized evenly to a rich medium brown, the steamed veggies were surely a frozen mix reheated, but still hot and steamy and not mushy and made a nice hot salad when topped with a mix of the white & green sauces.   If the yucca would travel well, I would get that and other sides, and then head up to Annandale to Chicken Pollo for the bird.

I'll tell you what: Twice in the past two weeks, I've gotten Crisp & Juicy, Lee Heights Shopping Center in Arlington, and both times it has hit the heights that Crisp & Juicy is capable of hitting. Both of these were as good (and I'm talking about "tastes good") as any chicken I've ever eaten. This location has been largely great in the past, but has also had some inconsistencies; these past two visits were incredible - chicken just does not taste any better than this does. (And the yuca and sauces (pink and yellow) were really good, too.)

I know this is a bold post, but I suggest this: Get a whole chicken and a large order of yuca to go, along with some pink and yellow sauces. Heat them in the oven if necessary, and report back here - the more data points, the better.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

I'll tell you what: Twice in the past two weeks, I've gotten Crisp & Juicy, Lee Heights Shopping Center in Arlington, and both times it has hit the heights that Crisp & Juicy is capable of hitting. Both of these were as good (and I'm talking about "tastes good") as any chicken I've ever eaten. This location has been largely great in the past, but has also had some inconsistencies; these past two visits were incredible - chicken just does not taste any better than this does. (And the yuca and sauces (pink and yellow) were really good, too.)

I know this is a bold post, but I suggest this: Get a whole chicken and a large order of yuca to go, along with some pink and yellow sauces. Heat them in the oven if necessary, and report back here - the more data points, the better.

The Frederick location distributes green & yellow sauces, and that chicken & papas yucca bang. I would eat cardboard dripped in whatever falls  off those chickens. So delish.

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11 minutes ago, KeithA said:

If you are in DC, compare to Chicken and Whiskey on 14th st. They are my current favorite Peruvian chicken. Not to say C&J isn't good too. 

I wouldn't assume all locations of Crisp & Juicy are at this level, and just as importantly, I wouldn't assume the Arlington location always is, either.

But, damn, when it is, it is tremendous.

Oddly enough, both times I went were mid-afternoon (2-3 PM) on weekdays, very slow times.

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I go to C&J in Tenleytown on the regular.  It has been consistently good, but inconsistently great.  On a recent visit, the pink sauce (sometimes called picante) tasted off - like it had been mixed incorrectly.  Sometimes the order is confused as to the size of the yucca or composition of sauces, and they don't always have Inca Cola.  Despite these hiccups the chicken has always been good.

Previous devotee of Pollo Rico in Arlington and Wheaton - the pink sauce at C&J is what made me change.  It's been a number of years, but I remember thinking the chickens at Pollo Rico were a little better/plumper, but the sauces were not as good as C&J.  Also thought Pollo Rico's rapid assembly line ordering was a little hectic, but much more efficient.

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