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Shootout at Chicken Junction [Brasa Roja/El Llano]

Shootout at Chicken Junction [Brasa Roja/El Llano]
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  • Shootout at Chicken Junction [Brasa Roja/El Llano]

    Post #1 - May 26th, 2010, 8:36 am
    Post #1 - May 26th, 2010, 8:36 am Post #1 - May 26th, 2010, 8:36 am
    The new Brasa Roja/El Llano has opened at the corner of Elston and Irving Park, making that intersection the home of not one, not two, but three great chicken options. Directly across Elston is Chicken Works and Salad Company, serving flame grilled chicken, soups and salads. Just south of there on the other side of Irving Park is the often overlooked C. Manny's, serving (among many other things) a great bowl of Caldo de Pollo and one of the best versions of Chicken with Mole in the city. Of the three, Brasa Roja/El Llano is the one that best scratches my chicken itch.

    Brasa Roja/El Llano Elston Location
    Image

    Like the other locations of this mini-chain, this location cooks their chicken over lump charcoal right in the front window. The other items on the menu, ranging from steaks to seafood, with some veal and rabbit thrown in for good measure, is cooked in a back kitchen over lump charcoal as well.

    Brasa Roja/El Llano's Brasa
    Image

    Compared to other locations of BR/EL I've visited, the furnishings are quite modern; reminding me more of a Starbuck's than a Columbian chicken shack, though the hand painted murals on the wall and ceiling are more rustic and add to the charm. Here's G Wiv posing for his close up.

    Brasa Roja/El Llano Interior
    Image

    This was my second visit to the location, which has been open for a little over one week. On my first visit, they had just pulled a bunch of chickens off the brasa and they were hot and fresh. This time, the chickens had been sitting in the holding pen for a while and our chicken was placed in a basket and given a charcoal blast to rewarm and refresh the bird.

    A Quick Char Before Lunch
    Image

    This reheating did not seem to dry out the chicken at all, which was quite delicious, tasting of real wood smoke and a great marinade. For $5 for a quarter chicken with rice, beans and salad this was quite a steal for lunch or a snack.

    Brasa Roja/El Llano $5 Quarter Chicken Special
    Image

    I'm not sure I could ever make the call to got to Chicken Works and Salad Company with chicken this good located just across the street. On days when I'm thinking of picking up a rotisserie chicken, Brasa Roja/El Llano will now replace Tony's as my go to joint. At least at C. Manny's, there is a full menu of Mexican food besides the chicken dishes, so I know I'll be back there.

    Brasa Roja/El Llano
    4011 N. Elston
    Chicago, IL 60618
    773-478-1650

    Chicken Works & Salad Company
    3658 W. Irving Park
    (Also, an entrance on Elston)
    Chicago, IL 60618
    773-588-5488

    C. Manny's
    3641 West Irving Park
    Chicago, IL 60618
    773-583-1590

    Tony's Finer Foods
    4137 North Elston
    Chicago, IL 60618
    773-866-0010
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - May 26th, 2010, 8:39 am
    Post #2 - May 26th, 2010, 8:39 am Post #2 - May 26th, 2010, 8:39 am
    nice post, and I do like these places. But man do I urge you to change the title of this thread.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #3 - May 26th, 2010, 8:42 am
    Post #3 - May 26th, 2010, 8:42 am Post #3 - May 26th, 2010, 8:42 am
    Kennyz wrote:nice post, and I do like these places. But man do I urge you to change the title of this thread.


    Not gonna happen.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - May 26th, 2010, 8:46 am
    Post #4 - May 26th, 2010, 8:46 am Post #4 - May 26th, 2010, 8:46 am
    fair enough. Maybe it's just me, but living so close and being around that intersection almost daily, which is not far from where deadly shootings have really taken place too frequently of late, my heart skipped a beat when I read the title and the irony was pretty much lost on me. I'll get over it.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #5 - May 26th, 2010, 8:50 am
    Post #5 - May 26th, 2010, 8:50 am Post #5 - May 26th, 2010, 8:50 am
    I live a few short blocks from "chicken junction" and you could easily broaden the area to be called "chicken town". I estimate that in the past 3 years, the number of "pollo ala brasa" places in my immediate area has more than doubled. I think there are no less than 10 within a mile of my home (three of which are called "brasa roja").

    The undisputed heavyweight champion, at least in my home, is D'Candela.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #6 - May 26th, 2010, 8:51 am
    Post #6 - May 26th, 2010, 8:51 am Post #6 - May 26th, 2010, 8:51 am
    I've been intrigued by the sign on the Brasa Roja window advertising "char veal". Anyone tried it?
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #7 - May 26th, 2010, 12:04 pm
    Post #7 - May 26th, 2010, 12:04 pm Post #7 - May 26th, 2010, 12:04 pm
    is the chicken different from the brasa roja just a few blocks east on irving? I had the 1/4 chicken special from there yesterday and it didn't taste of a marinade.

    but at 4.95 w rice and beans it's quite a deal
  • Post #8 - May 26th, 2010, 12:37 pm
    Post #8 - May 26th, 2010, 12:37 pm Post #8 - May 26th, 2010, 12:37 pm
    stevez wrote:Brasa Roja/El Llano's Brasa
    Image

    A Quick Char Before Lunch
    Image

    NICE, that grill looks interesting. Was thinking it was a modded aquarium smoker but after checking it out again looks different. Maybe a rotisserie rig?
  • Post #9 - May 26th, 2010, 12:49 pm
    Post #9 - May 26th, 2010, 12:49 pm Post #9 - May 26th, 2010, 12:49 pm
    Kennyz wrote:I've been intrigued by the sign on the Brasa Roja window advertising "char veal". Anyone tried it?


    Not yet, but the waiter assured us that the steaks are cooked over charcoal as well, so I intend to work my way through that part of the menu as well.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - May 26th, 2010, 1:35 pm
    Post #10 - May 26th, 2010, 1:35 pm Post #10 - May 26th, 2010, 1:35 pm
    Kennyz wrote:fair enough. Maybe it's just me, but living so close and being around that intersection almost daily, which is not far from where deadly shootings have really taken place too frequently of late, my heart skipped a beat when I read the title and the irony was pretty much lost on me. I'll get over it.


    The idea is that eventually, I planned on posting about each of the three locations on that corner; hence the shootout.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - May 26th, 2010, 1:36 pm
    Post #11 - May 26th, 2010, 1:36 pm Post #11 - May 26th, 2010, 1:36 pm
    Cbot wrote: NICE, that grill looks interesting. Was thinking it was a modded aquarium smoker but after checking it out again looks different. Maybe a rotisserie rig?


    Yes. It's a charcoal fired rotisserie rig.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - May 26th, 2010, 1:54 pm
    Post #12 - May 26th, 2010, 1:54 pm Post #12 - May 26th, 2010, 1:54 pm
    Kennyz wrote:fair enough. Maybe it's just me, but living so close and being around that intersection almost daily, which is not far from where deadly shootings have really taken place too frequently of late, my heart skipped a beat when I read the title and the irony was pretty much lost on me. I'll get over it.


    I thought the same thing too when I saw the thread title. How about a "throwdown"?
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #13 - May 26th, 2010, 2:03 pm
    Post #13 - May 26th, 2010, 2:03 pm Post #13 - May 26th, 2010, 2:03 pm
    Blown Z wrote:I thought the same thing too when I saw the thread title. How about a "throwdown"?


    Really? Do I look like Bobby Flay? I can't believe there is now a polical correctness policy when talking about an intersection. I hate censorship, but at least I'm not posting about a fast food chain.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - May 26th, 2010, 2:05 pm
    Post #14 - May 26th, 2010, 2:05 pm Post #14 - May 26th, 2010, 2:05 pm
    stevez wrote:
    Blown Z wrote:I thought the same thing too when I saw the thread title. How about a "throwdown"?


    Really? Do I look like Bobby Flay? I can't believe there is now a polical correctness policy when talking about an intersection. I hate censorship, but at least I'm not posting about a fast food chain.


    My suggestion was really not about political correctness at all. I genuinely thought the post was going to be about a shooting at Brasa Roja/ El Llano. I wasn't offended in the least by the title, just momentarily frightened.

    edited to add: and you're way better looking than Bobby Flay.
    Last edited by Kennyz on May 26th, 2010, 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #15 - May 26th, 2010, 2:06 pm
    Post #15 - May 26th, 2010, 2:06 pm Post #15 - May 26th, 2010, 2:06 pm
    stevez, are there any sauces served w/ the pollo, such as the green sauce served at dcandela?
  • Post #16 - May 26th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    Post #16 - May 26th, 2010, 2:15 pm Post #16 - May 26th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    Sorry, it was just a suggestion. It's just that I know some people that were victims by the recent string of shootings in the Chicagoland area. I wasn't offended either, but at least I know I don't have to worry about packing some heat when I go for some chicken :D
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #17 - May 26th, 2010, 3:22 pm
    Post #17 - May 26th, 2010, 3:22 pm Post #17 - May 26th, 2010, 3:22 pm
    Blown Z wrote:I thought the same thing too when I saw the thread title. How about a "throwdown"?
    At least he didn't use the word turd in the subject line.

    As Steve's lunch companion let me be clear, there was no gun play, though the chicken was, if not killer, terrific. Moist, juicy with a light lump charcoal char. We split a Beef Turnover ($1), aka empanada, slightly high ratio of potato to beef for this American, but crispy cornmeal shell and came with a tart mildly spicy salsa verde.

    El Llano lunch, at $4.95 for 1/4-chicken, rice, beans and salad is a tasty value, rib eye steak available on the same lunchtime deal.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - May 27th, 2010, 7:11 pm
    Post #18 - May 27th, 2010, 7:11 pm Post #18 - May 27th, 2010, 7:11 pm
    Huh, my first reaction was that there was an actual shooting at a restaurant called "Chicken Junction," and I made a mental note before I even clicked the thread not to ever eat at that place.
  • Post #19 - May 27th, 2010, 9:59 pm
    Post #19 - May 27th, 2010, 9:59 pm Post #19 - May 27th, 2010, 9:59 pm
    Um, how about a Char-Down? I too immediately thought someone had been shot and I think your post deserves to call more attention to the chicken situation.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #20 - May 28th, 2010, 5:07 am
    Post #20 - May 28th, 2010, 5:07 am Post #20 - May 28th, 2010, 5:07 am
    MBK wrote:stevez, are there any sauces served w/ the pollo, such as the green sauce served at dcandela?
    Yes, shown here with an empanada.

    El Llano Beef and Potato Empanada

    Image

    Image

    I once knew someone who backed away from an argument, we called him chicken. The subject line reminds me of him, not a pleasant association. Steve, could you edit out both shootout and chicken. I have it, how about calling it Birdland, that way it will remind me of my favorite Coltrane album.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - June 3rd, 2010, 2:34 pm
    Post #21 - June 3rd, 2010, 2:34 pm Post #21 - June 3rd, 2010, 2:34 pm
    Ate at El Llano today, and we have a winner. The marinade is tangy and puts a nice shellac on the skin. I ordered 2 whole birds which came with plantains, a corn pancake and a couple boiled potatoes. Also along side was some kicky green salsa, which tasted of peppers, onions and cilantro. The bird was juicy, but not greasy as can happen with some rostisserie birds. And the char off the real coals was nice.

    I think this place will end up being the head honcho of Chicken Town.
    Today I caught that fish again, that lovely silver prince of fishes,
    And once again he offered me, if I would only set him free—
    Any one of a number of wonderful wishes... He was delicious! - Shel Silverstein
  • Post #22 - December 31st, 2018, 2:58 pm
    Post #22 - December 31st, 2018, 2:58 pm Post #22 - December 31st, 2018, 2:58 pm
    We had a small crew working today so I decided to pick-up lunch at Brasa Roja on Montrose. I stopped by yesterday to place the order for 4 whole chickens w/ sides and picked it up mid-morning today. The process was simple, everything was packaged well and ready at the time I said I would be there. Very friendly staff too.

    The chicken was unbelievably juicy and got raves. Plantains were really good too. I easily fed 10 people for just over $60.

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