Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Crisp & Juicy

This alleged winter storm was the biggest bust since Albert Haynesworth (physically and metaphorically.) Maybe people other than me wanted nothing to happen, but when I hear about a gigantic winter blizzard that will destroy all carbon-based life on this planet, I expect some snow. Alas, there was little to none to be had, so I had to drown my sorrow in Peruvian chicken at Crisp & Juicy. Normally I avoid chains, but since it’s a small chain that is pretty much centered in the DMV area, I decided to give it a try.

This alleged winter storm was the biggest bust since Albert Haynesworth (physically and metaphorically.) Maybe people other than me wanted nothing to happen, but when I hear about a gigantic winter blizzard that will destroy all carbon-based life on this planet, I expect some snow. Alas, there was little to none to be had, so I had to drown my sorrow in Peruvian chicken at Crisp & Juicy. Normally I avoid chains, but since it’s a small chain that is pretty much centered in the DMV area, I decided to give it a try.

The interior of the Falls Church location is almost shockingly barren. When I was a mere boy, it used to be a Boston Market and even that had more personality than the Crisp & Juicy. The television sets blaring what I assumed to be Latino MTV were a nice touch, but they were not enough to make up for some of the run-down seats and the semi-dirty floor. The interior is by no means filthy, but they could stand to mop up a bit more often (unless I caught them just before they were about to clean the place, in which case ignore that last sentence.)

Enough sweet talk. The food is not bad, but is “not bad” good enough when “awe-inspiring” is a mile or two down the road at Super Chicken? No it is not. The chicken was sufficiently moist and the skin was great, but it lacked the spice factor that is the crucial difference between good chicken and great chicken. As the old saying goes, he who controls the spice controls the universe (or something like that; I’m a bit rusty on the Old Testament). Furthermore, the preparation of the chicken was not visible, and I feel that seeing a whole chicken chopped into quarters with a meat cleaver helps a person appreciate the meal. I know it’s not practical for Crisp & Juicy to rearrange their kitchen simply to put on a show, but little touches can go a long way.

The yuca fries were a lot lighter than they are at many other Peruvian chicken joints, and I think this is an improvement. These weren’t as crispy (ironic given the name of the restaurant) as the yuca fries in places like Super Chicken, but they’re a lot less filling and are less of a challenge to eat. If you’re planning on eating at another place later in the day, these fries won’t prevent that like the yuca from a competitor.

The fried plantains were not as hot as I would have liked, but they’re sufficiently sweet and last a long time in the fridge, so don’t be afraid to put them away for a rainy plantainless day. But while all of the food was decent, the fact that much better and slightly less expensive Peruvian chicken places are right down the road can’t be overlooked. I would have no problem if Crisp & Juicy was the only place in town, but there’s no way in my opinion that I could advocate this place over local legends like Super Chicken.

Crisp & Juicy is located at 913 West Broad St., Falls Church. Hours are Monday – Thursday, Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information, call 703-241-9091 or visit crispjuicy.com.