Pollo Inka Serves Peruvian Fare

Pollo Inka has opened up on Madisn’s far west side (See here for location and hours).  Fans of Peruvian food, but aware of the sparseness of such a restaurant in Madison, we stopped in for lunch recently to give it a try.

We left very pleased, and eager to go back again – soon.

Opening in January, the restaurant was doing a relatively healthy business the day that we stopped in.  Upon entering, one could not help but notice the aroma of rotisserie chicken filling the room.  And this is a good thing.

Lunch started with an order of Ceviche Mixto ($11.95).  This ceviche was made up of chunks of fish, calamari, shrimp and mussels, marinated in lime juice, garlic and chili.  The shell it was served on was balanced on both sides by mounds of sweet potoatoes.  Other ceviches available include fish only, shrimp only and mushrooms only.

For the main courses, we tried the lunch special, which was a quarter of a rotisserie chicken (6.95) which included a house salad and a choice of rice & beans, french fries, maduros (sweet plantains) or tostones (green plantains).   We also tried the Aji de Gallina ($9.95), a shredded chicken casserole with walnuts and parmesan, mixed with boiled potatoes, with hard-boiled egg and black olives on top.  This was served with a side of rice.

We enjoyed the rotisserie chicken.  We often say that the true test of a restaurant is to order their chicken.  It is so easy to do chicken wrong.  This was far from wrong, being moist, tender and very flavorful.  The house salad that it was served with was a bland shredding of iceburg lettuce – until you added the homemade dressing.  When asked what was in the dressing, our server explained that it was a secret even from him, stating,  “Our chef makes sure we aren’t around when she makes it!”

Another element that brought a burst of flavor to the chicken was the chili sauce.  Spicy enough to cause a nice, slow heat, yet not so spicy that it was overwhelming, this sauce was a really interesting addition to the chicken.

The Aji de Gallina was on the surface quite bland.  There was something satisfying about it, however, if one looked at it from a comfort food standpoint.  Admittedly, we did add some of the chili sauce that had been served with the chicken into the dish to spice it up, and that punched up the flavor tremendously.  Next time, we’d deliberately order chili sauce on the side to add to this dish.

We liked Pollo Inka a lot.  We’d go back there any day over many of the restaurants in the area, particularly the same tired old chains.  It is our hope that Madisonians support a small, local and unique restaurant such as this.

Pollo Inka on Urbanspoon

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Comments (3)

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  1. Cris says:

    Well, we went here on a recent Tuesday evening. We are huge fans of Inka Heritage, another Peruvian restaurant in Madison…so we thought we would give this place a try. It needs a lot of work to say the least. I don’t think the staff quite has a grasp on customer service just yet – it was not good. The food was nothing special at all — and not much of a selection. I will be surprised if it is still around in a year unless they do a major overall. Stick to Inka Heritage – a much much better choice for peruvian food, and well run.

  2. conni says:

    I have exactly the opposite opinion. I recently had lunch at both Heritage Inka and Pollo Inka and enjoyed Pollo Inka much more. The chicken was fantastic – I ate every spec. The plantains were delicious as was the house salad.

  3. Brett says:

    I’ve been here twice and have been very happy with the service and food. The lomo saltado is really the signature dish, marinated chunks of steak cooked with tomatoes and onions, served over fries…with a side of rice. This was recommended to me by my server, over the chicken and every other dish. Having tried the other dishes, I haven’t found one that isn’t delicious! This place has my recommendation and deserves a visit!

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