Media Credit: Anna Boone | Personal photographer
The mac’n queso con pollo is decorated with bacon bits, sliced onions, cilantro and jalapeno sweet corn.
DC foodies come to 14th Street’s Chicken + Whiskey for the slow-roasted South American-style chicken, but they stay for the hidden bar in the back of the restaurant.
Chicken + Whiskey is located at 1738 14th St. NW, north of Logan Circle and just a nine-minute walk from the U Street subway station. Customers can ride up to sidewalk window to buy booze to go, order food from the quick-service counter inside, or sip cocktails at an unadvertised whiskey bar at the back of the dining room.
Customers place their food orders at the quick service counter while restaurant workers assemble the food behind a glass barrier. You can also spot the chickens roasting on a rotisserie above a charcoal flame just behind the counter.
Diners can dine inside the restaurant, but my friends and I sat outside at one of the picnic tables set up on the street outside the joint.
If you want to enjoy the 12-hour brined chicken in all its glory, the menu includes a combo option, which includes your choice of a quarter ($10.49) or a half ($13.49) roast chicken and two of the specialties of the restaurant. Some sides include Tajin-dusted yuca fries ($3.99 a la carte), fried sweet plantains ($2.99 a la carte) and corn and roasted tomato salad ($3.99 a la carte ).
You can also choose from Chicken + Whiskey’s list of sandwiches which includes creations like the nacho pequito wraps ($8.99) stuffed with shredded chicken and fried with a crust of crushed nacho cheese chips or the pollo fruit sandwich ( $11.49) with cassava breaded chicken and bacon.
But I had my eye on the most indulgent menu item, the mac’n queso con pollo ($10.99). The dish is served in a medium bowl filled with a thick base of creamy elbow macaroni and cheese topped with a healthy helping of pulled chicken with cilantro mojo sauce.
Bacon bits, shredded red onions, cilantro, jalapeno sweet corn, and sweet plantain round out the pulled chicken, and a spicy tangy red sauce finishes it off.
The mac’n queso was rich, creamy with al dente noodles and made a perfect base for the generous portion of roughly shredded chicken. Chunks of the crispy, oily skin brought just the right amount of moisture to the cilantro-garlic flavored meat. The piece of plantain provided a sweet contrast to the savory flavors of the bowl and the fresh corn, onion and cilantro brightened up the overall flavor of the dish.
In addition to the inti sauce, I asked for a side of the other house sauce, the creamy aji (garlic) amarillo so I could dip my fork in both sauces before each bite for a dimension of tangy, salty flavor additional. The inti sauce was spicy and sour while the aji amarillo sauce was heavy garlicky and salty, both tasty additions to the dish.
After finishing our meals, my friends and I headed to the most intriguing part of the restaurant, the speakeasy whiskey and cocktail bar tucked away at the back of the place. The bar, accessed by what looks like a fridge door at the back of the restaurant, isn’t necessarily secret, but it’s neither advertised nor obvious to the average diner. I saw the bar on ICT Tac and I knew my friends and would like to check it out.
The room was dimly lit with a seating area of high tables and cartoon collage wallpaper, a counter with red bar stools that enveloped the entire room, and the bar counter. The white brick walls gave the room a subway station vibe.
I chose the funky sasquatch ($11) with Don Q Cristal rum, plantain syrup, passion fruit, lime, club soda and angostura from the specialty cocktail menu and my friend tried the punk ($12) with Heaven’s Door whiskey, cherry-vanilla azucar and angostura bitters.
Check out Chicken + Whiskey the next time you’re near Logan Circle for a bustling one-stop-shop for hearty dinner and drinks.