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The chef behind Baltimore’s buzzed about Alma Cocina Latina will serve Washingtonians South American-style rotisserie chicken starting tomorrow at Chicken + Whiskey on 14th Street NW.
Chef Enrique Limardo,who just earned three-and-a-half stars from Tom Sietsema for his Charm City Venezuelan eatery, slow roasts the birds over oak wood charcoal in Peruvian ovens after brining them overnight in garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and dark beer.
“We use Peruvian-style ovens, but the recipe itself is not exactly the flavor of Peru,” Limardo says. “It’s a mix from Argentina to the Caribbean.” Accompanying the birds are a variety of sides like yucca so good it tastes like funnel cake, vibrant green avocado mash similar to guacamole called “guasacaca,” and sinful little arepas made with deep fried pork cracklings for extra flavor.
The restaurant also acknowledges Chinese and Japanese influences on Peruvian cooking by serving a few “chifa” dishes that fuse the cuisines, such as “Arroz Chaufa” with soy sauce, rice vinegar, green onion, cilantro, bacon, and sesame seeds, and “Chifa Noodles,” which are considered a salad. Limardo emphasizes that everything is made from scratch and the chickens are all-natural and sourced from a farm in Maryland. See the full food menu below.
Think of the new venue from partners Desmond Reilly, Charles Koch, and Kris Carr as business in the front, party in the back. When you enter, the space is not unlike other casual eateries with a menu splashed on the wall and trays of hot food being built assembly-line style. But walk all the way back to find a whiskey bar.
Carr wants you to think of his new home backed by a vinyl-only soundtrack as a dive bar—despite the fact that one of the first things you’ll hear are bartenders chipping away at a trendy block of ice.
“It’s a combination of a neighborhood dive bar meets a cocktail bar masquerading as a dive bar because of the price points, simplicity, and accessibility,” Carr says. He says they carry two vodkas, two gins, four rums, three tequilas, two red wines, two white wines, and everything from these categories cost $7 or $8.
Whiskey, however, is the speciality, and the list is priced by 2-ounce pours that can be served neat or over that fancy ice for $8-$28. Any whiskey can also be put to good use in a classic cocktail for a few more bucks, like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Rob Roy.
Carr says it’s “not your father’s whiskey bar.” “What that means is the Baker’s, the Booker’s, the Blanton’s, the Maker’s [Mark], we don’t have them behind the bar,” he says. “We focused on finding more obscure whiskies from all across the country.” And, around the world. There are selections from Japan, India, Spain, and Australia.
There are also a few cocktails. “Think commercial flavors, more feminine in approach to balance out the masculinity of all the whiskey and the whiskey cocktails,” Carr says. The “Ginny from the Block,” for example, is a play on a French 75 with watermelon added. While you can’t order a rotisserie chicken feast in the back bar, there are six finger food options for the drinking crowd.
When Chicken + Whiskey opens tomorrow, the front restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The whiskey bar is open weekdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3 a.m.
Chicken + Whiskey,1738 14th St. NW; chickenandwhiskey.com