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El Pollo Supremo
2801 Folsom Street/24th St., SF
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Pretrial hearing at The Attic

Guest Judge Louise

It's all good. The flame grilled half chicken, the fried yuca (or is it yucca?), the side of oily garlic. The radio station, the friendly guy, the excessively well lit eating area. It's good! It's tasty. It's definitely good value. I don't recall the exact amount (pre-trial hearing at the Attic) but it was under eight dollars for sure. That may not be as exciting as, say, a bullfight, but it still managed to make me quite happy.

There is only one problem: location. And it is on this blatantly unfair criterion that I judge Pollo Supremo. It is located in San Francisco, not Manzanillo. I love it, true, but primarily because it reminds me of Mexico. Or rather, it reminds me that I am not in Mexico. It would be difficult for any restaurant to overcome this obstacle, I believe.

Anyway, I liked the chicken. It really is completely delish. There was some muttering around the table about a dry breast, but I noticed no such thing. It's well seasoned, but no hint of heat, which I miss. Love the side dishes: yuca, fried and starchy; beans, savory -- the black beans the best, I believe. I liked the plantains (fried sweet banana) with a little sour cream, yummy and caramelized. Of course you get a handful of tortillas, and they are pretty good, too. Yes, it is all good and I liked it very much. But I'd like it even better in Mexico.



"The Original," The Supreme Chicken says on the menu. I don't know what they're referring to, whether it's the chicken they serve, the name of the restaurant, or the bad-ass caped bird boldly flexing his wings on the sign outside (see photo). But the chickens are flamed right there on the grill behind the cash register, probably a good 25 chickens on there at any given moment, all flattened out, splayed, and cooking. And that seems pretty original.

At least you don't see it much. And among all the burrito joints in the area, it's nice to have some no-frills grilled chicken, on the bone, next to your tortillas and salsa and whatever else. I really liked it. Juicy inside, crispy outside.

As for sides, the salsa was a bit strange to me, having a pureed quality. But it tasted fine with the warm tortillas. And the yuca, while fried and tasty dipped in the kicking mashed garlic, had can I say it...fibrous texture to it. That bothered me a bit, but if that's anyone's fault, it's either yuca's, or more likely mine -- but surely not The Supreme Chicken's.



You better order the chicken because that's what they got -- 2-piece, 3-piece, 4-piece, a sandwich. Maybe a burrito, maybe a flauta, or how 'bout a salad. I enjoyed the Half Supreme Chicken, four pieces with tortillas and salsa. The chicken is your basic yummy grilled bird. For 5 bucks it's plenty of food but without the sides it wouldn't be a proper meal.

You order at the counter from a smiling man with a long long long grill behind him filled with cookin' chickens in all stages of done-ness, flaming on. They have a viewing case for sides, of which there are many. It always helps to view when you are deciding between the boiled yuca or the fried. We chose the fried yuca, of course -- it's fried. It was like a french fry 'cause it is fried, but the texture is a little denser and the flavor a bit bland. You can solve the bland by asking for a cup of crushed garlic, add some salt, and start dippin'. I recommend giving it a go. I'd also have to say a side of black beans mixed with a side of spanish rice and topped with a little salsa will round out the meal nicely.

As I mentioned, the chicken was basic, but not dull. They claim it's "marinated in natural juices." I was tasting a little citrus, maybe a little salt and pepper. Basic but tasty. The service is fast and friendly, chickens just waiting to be had, ready to go. That might explain why the larger pieces of chicken, most notably the breast, were a bit dry, but oh that skin was nice and crispy.

If it's chicken you're looking for, at a decent price, check out The Supreme Chicken. It's a nice alternative to those fast food fried chicken places, and maybe a bit healthier too. I'm no nutritionist so don't take my word. Consult your doctor and if it's chicken that's prescribed, get on over to The Chicken Supreme.



Inspired by Court Reporter Louise's recent report from Mexico, the judges decided to seek out some of that Mexican BBQ chicken she described so well. She came along as our guide.

Pollo Supremo is a fine establishment, and has a great sign. Just look for the muscular chicken wearing a cape, like Superman. The menu is pretty huge, but I settled on a combo meal: #3 -- three pieces of chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, and medium soda. I chose Coke, but in retrospect I should have gone for one of their agua frescas, like tamarindo or horchata. But no, I got Coke. I may never forgive myself. The whole shebang was $6.79 -- with tax just over seven bucks. Not bad.

The chicken was good and mostly moist and the rice and beans were quite respectable. Nice sack of tortillas. Salsa. It all came together to stuff my belly, but good. If I was to criticize this pollo, I might say it could have used a little more flavorization, in the marinade process. But I won't do that. It's flame-grilled chicken, Jack, and that's almost always good. We sampled the fried yuca with garlic for dipping. Pretty tasty, kind of like a stringy potato. I'm still not sure if this is the root of the yucca tree, but I recommend it nonetheless. Lots of other authentic sounding sides on the menu: papas fritas, maduros, tostones, why not try them all?

A nice big plate of food, fast and cheap, that's what we're talking about here. The Supreme Chicken provides it, you just have to get to the Mission to receive. Take BART.







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