Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicken Works & Salad Company

You can't go a half-mile in my neighborhood without stumbling on one of the chicken joints, most of which feature very good South American-style rotisserie birds. These are mostly humble places - some of which might reasonably be called dives - that cater largely to a clientele of their countrymen. Among this crowd, Chicken Works & Salad Company stands out like a show poodle in a rescue kennel full of mutts. As far as I know Chicken Works has only one location, but the glossy menu board, cheery, uniformed staff and many meal deals scream "chain". Assuming the facade meant that this place would be appealing to the lowest common denominator of neighborhood folk afraid of people who don't speak great English and menus with amusingly bad translations, I waited quite awhile before checking it out. Don't be fooled as I was; Chicken Works is serving some outstanding food.

Birds here are marinated overnight in what tastes to me like a citrus brine, then butterflied and grilled over coals. The results are juicy and compellingly delicious flesh, with skin that crisps up a bit and is tender and tasty. In line with what one might expect from a glossy chain, side options are bountiful and diverse, spanning the gamut from baked potato and pasta salad to curry rice and carrots with pineapple. There's even a salad bar. Despite misgivings about whether such expansive offerings ever include anything of note, let me tell you that the curry rice light and flavorful, with a little sweetness and a little kick that make it an excellent accompaniment. Chickens also come with good, fresh-tasting pita that gets a last minute warm-up on the grill.

Chicken Works & Salad Company is a worthy place, not to be overlooked amidst the sea of fowl in the area.

Chicken Works & Salad Company
3658 W Irving Park Rd

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