This restaurant's Web site unabashedly claims that the rotisserie chicken served here "is the most delicious on earth!" It just may be. It's tasty, crispy, as sinfully good as chicken gets without being fried.
It's clear by the restaurant's name that the chicken is the "specialty of the house," as the menu proclaims. This is Peruvian-style chicken. Inka, we are told, is just a flashy way of spelling Inca, as in the wealthy civilization that ruled most of South America in the 1400s.
But don't overlook the rest of the menu. It's got all kinds of interesting offerings. How could it not? The menu explains that Peruvian cuisine is a "multicultural mix of the fallen Inca Empire and of the successive waves of Spanish conquerors, African slaves, Chinese laborers, and Italian and Japanese immigrants who made Peru their home."
That must explain a dish like Tallarin Saltado de Pollo, marinated chicken sautéed with fresh onions, ripe tomatoes and tossed with ... spaghetti! Or a dish like Chaufa de Pollo, described as rice that is "flash-fried on our grill with our mouthwatering spices" - Chinese fried rice?
The variety of dishes and combinations of beef, chicken, or seafood and vegetables is mind boggling. You have your choice of nearly every kind of seafood prepared deep-fried or pan-fried or as part of seafood stews. Ditto with beef or chicken. And many of the dishes are available in vegetarian versions.
I chose the delicious Vainitas Saltadas ($7.99), mouth-sized slivers of beef sautéed with green beans, tomatoes and onions served with some of the best rice I've ever tasted. Our waiter shared that the rice is lightly salted and anointed with a splash of oil before being steamed. It's terrific.
But back to El Pollo a la Brasa, which my husband chose (half chicken, $6.79). In the Hermosa Beach restaurant, you are face-to-face with the open-fire rotisserie. Watching those chickens cooking to perfection is pretty hard to resist. Rounding out the meal are a generous portion of either french fries or rice (choose the rice!) and a small salad.
The menu promises that "once you've tried it, you'll come back again and again." They can count on it! FYI, this is one of seven El Pollo Inka locations. Others are in Lawndale, West Los Angeles, Torrance, Gardena, Glendora, and Miami, FL.