Meals on the Go: Rotisserie Chicken
January 23, 2008Posted by pamela |
When you're just too fried to cook dinner but don't want to deal with the whole restaurant experience, that old standby, the rotisserie roasted chicken, is often a great choice, especially since its something that everyone in our family will eat. While most of the supermarket versions are, to put it mildly, unappealing, there are at least two great places in Marin that specialize in tasty roasted birds.
Our favorite place to pick up a roast chicken is Mill Valley's Gira Polli; the name means "Turning Chickens," and their specialty is spit-roasted chicken with a southern Italian flair. The main reason for coming here is further underscored by the large, wood-fired rotisserie setup that dominates the room, as well as the amazing aroma that permeates the place. Located at the corner of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto, Gira Polli is housed in what used to be a Der Wienerschnitzel, which Marin old-timers will no doubt remember. Call ahead and place your order, because this place can get pretty busy on weeknights, and you'll often have to wait for your chicken. Gira Polli has a takeout entrance on the side of the restaurant facing the parking lot, so go here to pick up your order rather than the front door.
The basic roast chicken offering here costs about $20, and includes a whole chicken, Palermo potatoes, which are potatoes braised with onions, tomatoes, and a few peas, a vegetable, which is usually swiss chard (adorned with a little olive oil and garlic) or carrots, and rolls. The sides are good, but nothing too special. What's the real star here is the chicken. Rubbed with herbs, stuffed with onions, garlic, and citrus, with a crispy skin and moist meat, they're as close to perfect as you can get. Sometimes they've been a little on the salty side, but we've never had a bad one. They offer a variety of other items, including desserts and pastas, but all we ever get there is the chicken. The single chicken and sides feeds two adults and two small children easily, and leaves enough left over for a sandwich or salad the next day.
Gira Polli can be found at 560 East Blithedale Avenue, at Camino Alto. They're open Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 9:30 pm and Sundays from 4 to 9. You can call in your order to (415) 383-6040 and they'll have it waiting for you at the time you specify.
At the other end of the county is another place that makes the roasted chicken a specialty: California Grill and Rotiserrie in Novato. In an amazing coincidence, this place is also housed in what used to be a fast food joint, in a space that long housed an A&W. California Grill serves up a pretty good roast chicken, cooked on a wood-fired rotisserie.
Their whole chicken costs $18.95, and includes your choice of two side dishes and garlic bread. The garlic bread is nothing to write home about, but the sides that we've had are pretty good. Choose from coleslaw, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, fire-roasted vegetables, and more. Their herb-flecked roasted chickens are usually pretty good, although the quality can be a little inconsistant. Sometimes they're juicy, sometimes they're a little dry, and sometimes they're perfect. They obviously have more items to offer than just rotisserie chicken; you can check out their full menu online at www.califgrill.com.
California Grill is located at 1531 A South Novato Boulevard in the Nave Shopping Center. They're open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, and 11 to 8 on Sunday. Call in your order to (415) 893-1540 and they'll usually have it ready in 10 to 15 minutes.