Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Ultimate Chicken Bistro

DSC_0083A newly-opened restaurant in Loehmann’s Plaza in Falls Church is serving up an interesting – and highly specific – take on international cuisine.

Ultimate Chicken Bistro, as the name might suggest, specializes in that protein element beloved by even the pickiest eaters, that mainstay of home chef fridges. Showcasing the versatility of chicken, the restaurant fare is a sampling of cuisine from around the world all featuring the meat.

The phrases “Ultimate Chicken Bistro,” “bringing the world to your plate,” and “the ultimate chicken experience” are lettered onto the wall stacked one atop the other, wrapping up the idea behind of the restaurant. The decoration is situated at the very corner of a wall cut-out that runs half the length of the restaurant, letting diners peer into the stainless steel kitchen and watch all the slicing, dicing, and deep frying that comes before the meal.

Appetizers are limited to soup, salad, and a few chicken dishes in the $5 range, leaving an assortment of entrees to take center stage.

Those in the mood for French food can try the chicken cordon bleu ($15.99). Diners with a hankering for Mexican food can have their chicken skillet-grilled and served tableside as a fajita platter ($15.99). Customers looking for Chinese food can get take-out standards like chicken and broccoli ($12.99). The Italian food menu section yields a selection of chicken creations at $15.99 (and one garlic shrimp scampi outlier for a dollar more), and the Japanese food portion offers teppanyaki with various meats and fresh, seasonal vegetables ($12.99 – $16.99 depending on the selection of vegetable, beef, chicken or shrimp). But the fried chicken representing Korea on this globe-trotting menu – “famous,” the menu claims – earns special recognition on the menu in this restaurant, operated by the proprietors of Centerville’s Cheogajip Chicken Korean restaurant.

Among the non-fried entrees is the spicy chicken bell pepper pasta ($15.99), an Italian food option. The dish features a sizeable portion of chicken, but little else that might account for the price tag. While a mixed vegetable assortment showcases the freshness of the ingredients the restaurant uses, as evidenced by the nice crunch and vivid color of the peppers in this dish, they are coated in a salty cream sauce that masks their flavor.

The dollar goes farther when ordering the fried chicken, which comes popcorn style in small pieces ($8.99 for a small, $12.99 for a large), as wings alone ($8.99 for seven, $15.99 for 15), or as fried parts of a whole ($15.99) or half ($8.99) chicken.

The chicken is unlike that of the national fried chicken chains, which serve large pieces of the stuff in a hefty breading. Instead, the chicken here is served batter-dipped for a thin coating, crispy with a curious, subtle sweetness to play against the savory chicken. The chicken itself is incredibly moist and flavorful. Be it the wings, popcorn pieces, or the whole chicken pieces (which are, for the most part, pulled away from the bones to make for smaller pieces than the giant breasts or thighs one might expect in a 10-piece basket), all are served with the diner’s choice of a sweet and mild, hot and spicy, or soy garlic sauces for dipping.

While diners might appreciate a one-stop-shop that lets them satisfy all of their international cuisine tastes, the excellent Korean fried chicken this spot offers might make it preferred among the fare from other regions.

Ultimate Chicken Bistro is located at 7263-G Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. For more information, call 571-830-6400. Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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