6:46 PM

112-20 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 275-2828

There is, across much of the city, a Peruvian mini-chain called Pio Pio which cranks out dirt cheap, incredible chicken. In fact, there's one right nearby in Rego Park on Woodhaven. Now, they have a clone and that clone has opened up shop here in Forest Hills, on Queens Boulevard.

El Pollo Inka, right down to the color paint and walking chicken logo, is just like Pio Pio. First, if the chicken dishes got any cheaper, they'd be giving them away; second, customers order sangria by the bucket; third, they doll out massive volumes of comida; fourth, it's almost the same exact size as the Rego Park one (very small).

Bro and I first noticed El Pollo Inka yesterday as we drove by and went that night. Arriving at 8 on a Saturday, they had a few tables, amazingly. A Pio Pio wait would have been well over a half hour. We were led to our seat, asked for some South American soda and an order of Anticuchos (cow's heart served shish-ka-bob style with a spicy dipping sauce) and annoyed other customers with my camera. For those who haven't had heart before, let me say that this is not just some organ. No, heart's muscle, so it's like eating a tender, fatless and boneless cut of beef. Much like filet mignon, but more dense. For those who are squeamish, trust me, it's good.

For dinner we ordered the Number 2 Combo. Basically, this is an entire roast chicken, a side rice, a side of Maduros (fried sweet plantains), a side of Salchipapas (french fries with sliced up hot dogs...) and a large salad. The whole combo was $22 and we ate half. In other words, four people could have a filling meal here for $5.50 each. That's crazy cheap. So what was it like? Okay, the chicken was very very good, but not quite up to Pio Pio standards. It was a bit too dry and didn't have quite the amount of glazing that you'd get there. The salad was huge and good, so if you like salads, you'll have a nice little start to your meal. french fries with hot dogs are an acquired taste which I have yet to acquire. But the fries themselves were good. The maduros were incredible. If I ordered anything else instead of the chicken combo, I definitely get this as an additional side. The only thing that you didn't get much of was the rice, oddly enough, since that's the cheapest item of all.

El Pollo Inka has Peruvian entrees other than the chicken that average about $14 each, and when I return (not if), I'm going to try one of them... with some maduros.

The whole meal with tax and tip was $42.

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