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CHICKEN RUN

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Move over, Kentucky Fried Chicken!

Pollo Campero (Country Chicken), the immensely popular Guatemalan fried-chicken chain, just opened in Sunset Park and it’s raising the roost on fast food dining.

Only fresh, top-of-the-line Perdue chickens, delivered daily, are used for the restaurant’s justly famous fried chicken.

Before the bird’s immersion into the deep fryer, it is marinated in a secret recipe of traditional spices, then lightly battered. The result of the careful handling is spicy, juicy meat with a brittle, crackling crust. All the sides - richly flavored yellow rice mixed with peas and carrots; Mexican-style red beans stewed with chorizo (a spicy Mexican pork sausage), smoked ham and cilantro; tostones (fried green plantains); and American sides that no fried chicken should be without - mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw and french fries - are prepared in-house.

To add more spice, three house-made salsas are available, as well as ketchup, on the condiments counter.

In addition to Coca-Cola, there’s Orchata, a sweet rice beverage, like a thin milkshake, flavored with cinnamon and sugar, and refreshing, sweet-tart tamarind juice.

The earth-toned decor is a few notches above institutional-looking fast food dining rooms. Murals of Mayan ruins and Latin American heroes decorate the walls and the tables can be pushed together to accommodate large groups.

Pollo Campero (4506 Fifth Ave. at 45th Street) accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Chicken meals start at $2.95 for two pieces without sides to $29.95 for 20 pieces with four family-sized sides, tortillas and biscuits. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. For information call (718) 686-7329.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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