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Listo el Pollo

1/2 Listo_facadeI would be talking out of my ass if I called Listo el Pollo the Colombian Hooters because I’ve never been to a Hooters. But I’d like to imagine that this Jackson Heights oddity is better than a Hooters. They’ve mastered out the ok food, made better than ok by young waitresses in skimpy attire approach. That might’ve been enough in its own right, but the restaurant also appears to be a former tiki lounge that was lightly, if at all, redecorated to reflect the Latin American cuisine.

I suppose it’s possible that bamboo, coconuts carved into monkey faces, palm trees and Sex on the Beach drinks (I was confused by a cocktail simply called Alexander—that’s like vodka and tomato juice being dubbed Mary) could be found in Colombia. On the other hand, there’s nothing Polynesian about the white, ruffly grandma curtains that make each booth feel like a private paradise. That must be the Colombian touch.

Listo_waitress_2Really, the ladies’ costumes are more campy than sexy, sort of a pirate/dirndl hybrid (I witnessed something similar in Hua Hin, which I didn’t realize was a German expat stronghold and lots of the restaurants served muesli and sausages and had Thai waitresses gussied up in dirndls) composed of a short skirt and corseted top. I’m not one to be bold with photo taking so my only evidence is a stealth shot with a server in the background. Sure, there were some groups of guys there for the ogling but mostly the clientele is composed of families and couples.

Listo_chickenIn my limited but rapidly expanding Colombian food experience it seems that they truly are the masters of the large combo plate. I stuck with the roasted chicken and ordered a half when ¼ would’ve been sufficient. For $6 and change it was a bargain, coming with white rice, fat pink beans dotted with pork, and a boiled red potato (I was hoping for something starchy and fried) and a tough nugget of an arepa.

Listo_salad James got the whole bandeja shebang with steak, chicken, pork, yuca fries, plaintain, arepa. Maybe more, I can’t remember. We also got a little white pitcher of herbier than spicy salsa and salads with a selection of Kraft dressing packets. At least we had a choice between Italian, French and Ranch–at Honduras Maya we just got a plastic bottle of Kraft Italian, no options.

Listo_easter_2We also ordered Coronas, which came preparado, a new concept to me where they’re served in salt-rimmed glasses over ice with a slice of lime. It was no Alexander, but it sufficed.

Atmosphere can be half the battle with many restaurants, a poor one will piss me off for life even if the food is superior, while a fun one will elevate an otherwise ordinary meal. Listo el Pollo put me in an unexpectedly good mood for which I have to give them high marks. Plus, my inexpensive dinner provided me with lunch the following day.

Listo el Pollo * 8602 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, NY

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  1. lisa #

    So…”Listo el Pollo” = “the chicken’s ready”?

    ack–that could be so wrong, on so many levels…

    April 20, 2007
  2. z. #

    When we were in Mexico City last week, we had beers “michelada”, which is the same salt-rimmed glass + lime treatment. Good with negra modelo especially.

    April 20, 2007
  3. I guess I’m showing my cocktail ignorance because just today I noticed this Slashfood posting about the Alexander and variations. I always thought Brandy Alexander was default.

    Ah, the michelada. I do know that one. In NYC they are usually spiked with a few splashes of Tabasco.

    April 21, 2007
  4. Driggs #

    Glad you went. My friends, including colombian ones, do call it the Colombian Hooters…..

    April 21, 2007
  5. Driggs: I will take your word on the Hooters description (I recently read that someplace too). The wow factor was upped by the unexpected tiki decor.

    April 23, 2007
  6. Driggs #

    Its got so much going for it: Women in tight outfits, Tiki Decor, Latin Soccer, Tables filled with families, and of course the old man singing folk songs. Did you get the old man? Hes there on Friday and Saturday nights……

    The outfits are downright absurd. I feel the women probably cannot breath….

    April 25, 2007
  7. Ricardo #

    Listo el Pollo is a phrase that Colombians use when they’ve finished a job. For example, your sink is leaking and you slide underneath to tighten down the pipes. Finished, you crawl out from under your sink and say, “Listo el Pollo.”

    February 9, 2008
  8. Ricardo: thanks for the explanation. I interpreted the name literally, which didn’t make all that much sense. Listo el pollo is a great phrase.

    February 11, 2008
  9. JM #

    This is a non biased opinion of this restaurant:

    The food is pretty bad and of bad quality. The service is as bad as the food, probably worst. The reason for the service being bad is that they hire these young pretty Colombian girls that usually come from Pereira, Colombia or Medellin, Colombia.
    They all have boyfriends or husbands that support them financially. The result is that you get these girls with nasty attitudes that don’t really care if they treat you nice or bad. The sad part is that this doesn’t really represent the Colombian people’s hospitality in Colombia. People are much nicer & humble in Colombia.
    A lot of people go to this restaurant to show there friends these waitresses that are dressed provocatively.

    October 4, 2008
  10. JM: Oh, I know the food isn’t a good example of Colombian cuisine, but there aren’t many places like Listo el Pollo in NYC (maybe for a good reason) so it’s kind of a novelty. Probably more so for Americans.

    October 9, 2008
  11. Krista,you sound like a competitor or a costumer who went in there with the hopes of picking up one of those cuties and were turned down by them.Listo el Pollo is a top of the line restaurant,the food is great,the girls are pretty(but keep your hands off them),very polite and extremely helpful.The live music they offer varies depending on the night of the week you attend.Since it’s a well known place,sometimes if you’re lucky you’re bound to see Spanish celebrities.I would recommend it to anyone,Listo El Pollo is a blast.

    May 16, 2009
  12. ivan: You know me too well. I’m just the type of costumer who hits on Colombian waitresses. But yeah, the place is fun in its own way.

    May 17, 2009

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