Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Desi’s Peruvian Chicken & Steak

spotlightThe deathly spectre of Winter is almost upon us. The days are getting shorter and drearier. Wednesday so grey that it was almost funny. Almost. I needed to get something that was going to perk me up or die trying. Clearly, the answer was to get Peruvian chicken. (Note: The people behind the SATs do not share this view, and therefore you should not put that as an answer for every question like I did). I had heard from people slightly-older and slightly-wiser than myself that Desi’s was a high-quality Peruvian chicken place that rivaled the legendary Super Chicken in tastiness and price. After a confusing drive where it seemed everyone was out to kill me, I arrived, hungry for chicken and adventure.

spotlight

(Photo: News-Press)

 

The deathly spectre of Winter is almost upon us. The days are getting shorter and drearier. Wednesday so grey that it was almost funny. Almost. I needed to get something that was going to perk me up or die trying. Clearly, the answer was to get Peruvian chicken. (Note: The people behind the SATs do not share this view, and therefore you should not put that as an answer for every question like I did). I had heard from people slightly-older and slightly-wiser than myself that Desi’s was a high-quality Peruvian chicken place that rivaled the legendary Super Chicken in tastiness and price. After a confusing drive where it seemed everyone was out to kill me, I arrived, hungry for chicken and adventure.

It was clear from the moment I entered that the owners clearly know their customers. All menus were written in Spanish first with a few English words randomly thrown in, there were plenty of seats and reggaeton was blaring from the speakers. When picking up my order, the guy behind the counter where two steel ovens filled with charcoal were slow-roasting about two dozen chickens each handed me my order instead of calling out the number, as he (semi-correctly) assumed I would not understand the numbers being called out.

As Desi’s has the word “chicken” right there in the name, a quarter-chicken (white meat) with yuca fries and extra white-sauce (sort of a spicy, mayonnaise-like sauce) was the name of the game. The chicken was great, but the tiniest bit drier than Super Chicken’s and with a bit less spice. However, whereas Super Chicken’s chicken is a messy affair, Desi’s is less likely to require an entire roll of paper towels to eat, so it made up points in that department.

The yuca is definitely something that will stick to your ribs, but it was a bit hard to tear into and not as piping hot as I like. This is thick yuca, and while there may not be that many pieces in your order, rest assured that each piece is a tiny meal unto itself.

To balance out the spicy and salty goodness of the chicken-yuca combo (at around $5 for those two items and a small salad, you’d be clinically-insane not to get it), I ordered some flan and fried plantains. The flan was a bit gelatinous, which is normal for almost every place I get flan, but it’s a generously-sized slice for the price, and I can’t really complain about anything floating in a thin caramel sauce, which is how former President George W. Bush got me to support the Iraq war. In retrospect, I really should’ve been more observant at the time.

The fried plantains, however, were neither sweet nor particularly good. They were more steamed than friend, and were as dense and doughy as any banana-like object could ever be. Furthermore, they seemed to have a weird spice on them that made them hot in addition to dense and steamed. If you’re looking for something hot and sweet, look elsewhere.

All in all, Desi’s appears to be an authentic Peruvian chicken joint and, unlike Super Chicken, it seems to have both space and proper air-conditioning. However, the chicken and yuca just aren’t at Super Chicken’s level, although the extra amenities like not charging for extra sauce and low prices keep it in contention. Desi’s large menu and quality chicken warrants a deeper investigation, and I intend to do so.

Desi’s Peruvian Chicken & Steak

6198 Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA
703-237-7704

Hours:

Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.