Eating 16th Street: Let's Begin at Pollo Sabroso

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Graphic by Claire Lawton
I'm here to eat!

See also: Calle 16: A Mural Project

Hey readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. As a contributor to our sister blog in Miami, Short Order, Rodriguez has covered it all, but has focused mainly on Latin food, particularly Cuban, though she's fond of Peruvian and Nicaraguan as well. So what better palate to set loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street -- the storied, muraled stretch that's home to everything Latin from a James Beard winner to that candy store (a.k.a. dulceria) you've always wondered about. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.

The Place: Pollo Sabroso
The Food: Rotisserie and charcoal grilled chicken.
The Back Story: The menu is a hybrid between Mexican and Colombian favorites.
The Price: Two can eat plenty and walk out with a doggie bag for just over 12 bucks.

Sabroso, in Spanish, means tasty, or delicious. Pollo means chicken. Delicious chicken is what you'll find at Pollo Sabroso.

The eatery on the east corner of Jefferson and 16th street once housed El Pollo Correteado; Pollo Sabroso took its place in January.

See also: Pollo Sabroso Replaces El Pollo Correteado in Downtown Phoenix

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Photo by Lauren Saria
Chicken is the name of this game.

The restaurant is awkwardly spacious with two dining rooms but unless you're the type of person to complain about too much elbow room, it won't be a bother.

You'll peruse the menu and immediately know what you want: chicken. There are a few other options, like ribs, and burgers, but why even bother? Stick to the restaurant's namesake if it's your first time.

We ordered a half chicken for $7.99. Now before we start with the tasty details, you'll have to note something the staff did out of courtesy: There were two of us and without being asked, they served our half chicken on two separate plates. Green flag! That was a pleasant surprise.

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Photo by Lauren Saria
Half of our half chicken order.

If you order a number 1, 2 or 3, your meal comes with your choice of two sides, two corn tortillas, and salsa. We opted for rice and beans. Pollo Sabroso's menu is a hybrid between Mexican and Colombian (or South American if you want to speak generally). Where you find jalapenos, Mexican rice, and refried pinto beans, you'll also find Colombian aji picante (think of it as a Colombian spicy pico de gallo), and fried yuca.

Make no mistake: The marriage of the two styles will romance your palate, so get ready.

The chicken was juicy and tender with a delicious rotisserie flavor. The Mexican rice, although slightly under cooked, had a great flavor -- think tomato and garlic. Mix your arroz y frijoles (rice and beans), take a bite of your pierna de pollo (chicken leg) and trust us, you'll be a happy camper. We ordered a side of fried yuca ($3.50) to seal the deal. It was hot, and it tasted fresh; a dip into the aji and you'll be doing that Italian thing with the hand and the lips and the kiss.

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Photo by Lauren Saria
Fried yuca

While the restaurant doesn't exactly have a wait staff (we went during lunchtime on a week day), we were visited at least twice to make sure everything was okay.

A mountain of food for a grand total of $12.55? We're not the greatest skilled in mathematics, but, that sounds like a banging great deal. Did we mention that Pollo Sabroso has a drive-thru? Yeah, a drive-thru. We know. That's awesome.

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9 comments
chefMEXICANA
chefMEXICANA

it's Calle 16 for us locals...just saying

joe.distort
joe.distort

whoa, we had dinner here last night and this chicken is FANTASTIC. super tender and juicy, and if you are a fan of chicken skin you will be overjoyed like i was. weird that the pictures on their website are of a completely different (possibly placeholder?) spot though. bonus: they were showing the craziest spanish soap operas on the tv.

PhoenixDesertGal
PhoenixDesertGal

You need to try and go further north on 16th st to Bethany Home.  Here you will find Phoenix Grill, The Garage, Luci's, Texaz, and The Vig.  I know I am missing some others but this is at least a start.

Dominic Armato
Dominic Armato

Oh, I know!  Sorry, that wasn't clear... I meant other streets.  I've been working my way down McDowell, you've got 16th street... we pick up half a dozen more intrepid individuals who choose their own streets and that's turning into a pretty big chunk of methodical scouting. Look forward to hearing what you find!

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez

Hey Dominic, I've got a huge list of places to visit. This one's just the beginning. Enjoy and keep eating!

Dominic Armato
Dominic Armato

Hooray!  McDowell and now 16th street  :-) Can we get a few more of these going?  We could do some serious damage this way.  Anybody feeling bold enough to pick up another?

joe.distort
joe.distort

if im thinking correctly, ive seen it from the light rail before and wanted to. like i said, theres so much great stuff in this area its hard to get to them all

Amy Silverman
Amy Silverman

yeah, we know -- if alex has time (she's only with us for a set amount of time) we'll send her north of thomas, too.... you're right, we had to cut it off someplace. glad you like the idea -- the place she wrote about today is AWESOME! go!

joe.distort
joe.distort

hell yeah, this new feature is great for me since i live near here. theres so much good stuff that its hard to try all of it! stopping at thomas will cut off a few GREAT places, but then again, stopping anywhere will do that.

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