Caroline Jones
Caroline Jones

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The Sandwich: Pollo Frito

Where: Chicken + Whiskey, 1738 14th St. NW

Price: $10.99

Stuffings: Cassava-breaded chicken breast, bacon, pepper jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, Greek yogurt mustard sauce, aji amarillo mayonnaise

Bread: White hoagie roll

Thickness: 3 inches

Pros: Judge this sandwich on looks alone and you’ll think you’re getting a typical fried chicken sandwich. But the breading on the chicken breast, which includes starchy cassava, gives the sandwich an earthier and deeper flavor. The two sauce combination—one slightly sour, the other slightly spicy and containing a Peruvian chili pepper—gives the sandwich a little more punch, imbuing something regularly found on fast-food menus with South American flair.

Cons: Dry bread doesn’t suit any sandwich, especially this one, which requires a lot of jaw action to tear through the chicken and tough roll. Liberal use of iceberg lettuce limits access to the much more interesting sauces, and while the pepper jack cheese pairs well with the flavors of the sandwich, it’s shredded so finely that very little of it stays on the sandwich.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 3. The roll is slightly too small so the loosely packed toppings slide out. That, combined with the force required to take a bite, leaves a pile of ingredients scattered around your plate. Leakage isn’t a problem because the sauces soak into the bread.

Overall score (1 to 5): 3. A flavorful fried chicken sandwich that’s not overly breaded or greasy is hard to find, and the crispy breast tastes great. The flavorless vegetables derail it, however, as does placing it on the wrong kind of bread. Put this on a soft round roll and its stock immediately rises.