Closed: hmm, that was short lived. (7/05)
I think Pollo Campero is meant to mean more to homesick Central Americans than run of the mill North Americans. Though, an appreciation of fried chicken is practically universal. I'd heard about travelers smuggling Pollo Campero chicken on planes from Guatemala to loved ones in the States, so I figured it must be something worth checking out. And I was especially convinced since I always have a soft spot in my heart for businesses in my old neighborhood, Sunset Park. (Their first NYC location was in Corona, but I don't get out that way very frequently.)
The sunny orange-and-yellow color scheme and pot-bellied bird logo were more than enough to entice me. But I was also fascinated by a fast food menu that listed horchata and flan. The chicken is pretty much fried chicken. The coating is light and not heavily seasoned, and I sort of prefer a thicker, crispy crust. Sides include rice, tostones and chili-spiked, meaty, soupy beans (my choice) and of course starchy classics french fries and mashed potatoes. The salsa bar with red, green and a deeper red smoky mystery condiment (my personal favorite—chipotle? tomato?) was a nice touch.
I hate to say it because the concept and even the execution of Pollo Campero is alluring, but its probably not worth going out of your way for their fried chicken. But definitely do stop in if you happen to be near a location—I hear Spanish Harlem is next on their list (do they still say Spanish Harlem or has that gone the way of Alphabet City).
Pollo Campero * 4506 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY