Wow - I think I found a Chowfind!
Last week, I had dinner last week at Charly's Polleria, a tiny, bare-bones place on on Central Avenue at hmmm... 29th? 30th? 31st? I don't remember the cross street, but it's a few blocks north of the Eastside Coop.
Charly's Polleria is an Ecuadorian mom-and-pop cafe. Mom is the server, pop is the chef, and there's a toddling son who runs around charming the patrons.
Because it's a polleria ("pollo" means chicken), I had to have the baked chicken. It comes as a quarter ($6) half ($8) or whole ($12) chicken, accompanied with white rice and french fries, pickled red onions, and aji - a florescent orange, creamy sauce that was spicy, tangy, and garlicy - and so good that I was tempted to eat it with a spoon.
The chicken was fabulous - moist, flavorful, well cooked, and crispy skinned. The French fries were only average, but when combined with the sauce, they were the yummiest dish I've had in months. The combination of rice and french fries had me in carb heaven, and the onions were a lovely tart touch on the side.
Charly's has other interesting things on the menu, like goat, seafood stew, trout, and something with tripe. The evening I was there, they had a grilled tilapia special, and there were posters on the wall advertising something with potatoes (my Spanish is pretty weak, especially for Ecuadoran dishes).
There is zero ambiance, unless you count the aformentioned toddler, who is charming. There are three TV screens showing Univision - a big plus in my book - and a soda dispenser by the cache register. No wine or beer, but plenty of Coke and Jarritos. (The Tamarindo goes nicely with the chicken...)
My dinner was so good that I almost went back the next day for more chicken. But I'm determined to try the goat dinner next time.
If you like hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries, give this place a try - I think you'll love it!