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Chicken dinner is a cluck above the rest

June 26, 2010|By Lisa Dupuy
(Raul Roa/News-Press )

There is a chain of chicken restaurants (whose name begins with a Z) that has led the market in succulent, finger-smacking roasted chicken for years. It's definitely delicious, but the next time I'm hankering for garlicky chicken, hummus and pita, I'll be going to the brand new Frechicko.

Admittedly, the main reason is that it's closer to my home in La Crescenta. But secondly, this chicken is less greasy and more flavorful. They use a multistep, multiday process to create this wonderful flavor. They are sworn to secrecy on the process, but I deduced the following.

First, they wash and dry the bird and cut off as much fat as possible. Then, based on similarities to juicy Thanksgiving turkeys I've made, they must brine it for a while. Then it goes into a marinade of herbs, spices, garlic and some tangy fruit. It is then grilled over an open-flame that de-fats it even more yet leaves a crispy skin and juicy meat.

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The cost is slightly higher than at other chicken places, but at $14.99 for a whole chicken, two sides, soup or salad, two large pitas and their delicious signature sauce, it's still a bargain. The sauce has a yogurt base — again, healthier than an oil-based sauce — lots of garlic and what appear to be diced cucumbers. You can ask for their standard garlic sauce as well, but it's more like a paste and not that special.

The rest of the items on the menu at Frechicko are respectable but not outstanding. Beef and chicken kabobs come with rice, pepper, tomato and soup or salad ($9.99 to $11.99). Sandwich choices include koobideh, shawarma, gyro and falafel, and come on a French roll or pita bread ($5.95). They all feature that tangy signature sauce. A unique item is the Shredded Chicken Plate ($9.99), which combines white and yellow basmati rice, shredded marinated chicken, barberries, raisins and slivered sweet and sour orange peel. The tart flavors are invigorating. I like the idea that for $1.50, you can add any of those dried fruit toppings, as well as cranberry or sour cherry, to your rice.

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