First look: Pardo’s Chicken

Pardo's Chicken.

The goods: Peru’s popular rotisserie chicken eatery Pardo’s sets up shop in the Gables. The Lima-based chain has been churning out crispy poultry for over twenty years and the Miami location is the only U.S. outlet (a New York location that opened last year recently closed). The restaurant’s design is stylish and casual with blonde wood tables, red walls, large black and white photographs of Peruvian cities and Machu Picchu and a large stainless steel roaster holding court behind a counter in the rear of the room. There’s waiter service, the soundtrack is festive and on a recent Sunday night the space was bustling with families, Peruvian expats and fried chicken fiends.

The grub:
Unpretentious Peruvian cuisine with influences from Chinese, Spanish and African traditions. Pardo’s prices are in keeping with the informal atmosphere. Starters and salads top out at $10, chicken entrees like chicken “chicharron” (fried cornmeal-crusted tenders) go for $11.50 and a family-meal of a whole roasted chicken with four sides is $30. The Pardo chicken is all about the marinade, with 14 secret ingredients (we deciphered salt, pepper and cumin) and the birds are roasted “a la brasa,” skewered on a two-tiered rotisserie oven. Peruvian aficionados will relish the grilled anticuchos (skewers of grilled beef heart) and side orders of tacu tacu (croquettes of assertively spiced rice and beans), massive kernels of Incan corn and golden yucca fries. Wash it all down with a glass of chicha morada, an inky brew made from purple Peruvian corn and spiced with cloves and cinnamon.

The verdict:
A fun South American import with a reasonably-priced menu, dining at Pardo’s is a like visiting a restaurant in Lima, without the jet lag.

Pardo’s Chicken, 2312 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, 305-529-2475

Published: 9/08

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