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More great chicken at La Corneta

nja | Sep 8, 200309:33 PM

La Corneta... these people know chicken. A while back I posted about the great pollo en salsa verde at La Corneta in the Mission District. I returned recently and retried that chicken in a burrito. It was still as good, though its flavors were lost amid the other ingredients. Stick to more direct preparations like tacos.

This time I also tried the pollo asado. Wow. The little chunks of white meat were tender, moist ("juicy" would be going to far), and well seasoned by a brick-colored marinade that penetrated about a millimeter or so into the meat. The breasts are grilled on thick metal grates that lend a slightly smoky and--to paraphrase something Melanie said recently--"special" taste that comes from well seasoned cookware. While the chopped bits of breast were kept in a steamer bin, they had not taken on any moisture so the outsides were still dry and covered in delicious bits of charred meat(s).

As good as this stuff is, I suspect it would be a little tiresome in something as direct as a taco. That's worth a try, but I think a complimentary (saturated) fat will be necessary to make it shine. It was excellent in our super quesadilla, with its abundance of cheese and guacamole.

I often order chicken in restaurants only because I want to share a meal with a non-red-meat-eater. But this pollo asado I'd order anytime just for myself. It doesn't reach the same pinnacle as the very best al pastor, carnitas, or carne asada, but it really shows that chicken doesn't have to be boring.

As it is cooked on the same grill as their other meats, this chicken would not be appropriate for someone who cannot or will not eat any traces of pork or beef. The charred bits are getting their flavor from somewhere!

Oh, and I have a diagnosis for the "off" pollo en salsa rojo: it's cooked in the same salsa they put on the tables, which contains cilantro. I'm in the "cilantro should never ever be cooked" camp.


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