Dish of the Week: Chicken + Whiskey’s mac’n queso con pollo

Media Credit: Anna Boone | Staff Photographer

The mac’n queso con pollo comes decorated with bacon pieces, shaved onion, cilantro and jalapeno sweet corn.

D.C.’s foodies come to 14th Street’s Chicken + Whiskey for the slow-roasted South American style chicken, but they stay for the hidden bar in the back of the restaurant.

Chicken + Whiskey is located at 1738 14th St. NW, north of Logan Circle and just a nine-minute walk from the U Street metro station. Customers can walk up to the curbside window to purchase alcoholic drinks to go, order food at the fast-service counter inside or sip on cocktails inside an unadvertised whiskey bar in the back of the dining space.

Customers place their food orders at the quick service counter while the restaurant’s employees assemble the food behind a glass barrier. You can also catch a glimpse of the chickens roasting on a rotisserie above a wood charcoal flame just behind the counter.

Diners can enjoy their meals inside the restaurant, but my friends and I sat outside at one of the picnic tables set up in the street outside the joint.

If you want to enjoy the 12-hour-brined chicken in its full glory, the menu includes a combo option, which comes with your choice of a quarter ($10.49) or half ($13.49) roasted chicken and two of the restaurant’s specialty sides. Some sides include Tajin dusted yuca fries ($3.99 a la carte), fried sweet plantains ($2.99 a la carte) and roasted corn and tomato salad ($3.99 a la carte).

You can also choose from Chicken + Whiskey’s sandwich list which includes creations likes the nacho pequito wraps ($8.99) stuffed with pulled chicken and fried with a crust of crushed nacho cheese chips or the pollo fruit sandwich ($11.49) with cassava breaded chicken and bacon.

But I had my eye on the most indulgent menu item, the mac’n queso con pollo ($10.99). The dish is served in a medium bowl full with a thick base of creamy elbow macaroni and cheese topped with a hefty serving of pulled chicken with a cilantro mojo sauce.

Bacon pieces, shaved red onion, cilantro, jalapeno sweet corn and a sweet plantain top the pulled chicken and a spicy inti picanted red sauce finishes it off.

The mac’n queso was rich, creamy with al dente noodles and was an ideal base for the generous portion of coarsely pulled chicken. Pieces of the crispy and oily skin brought an ideal amount of moistness to the cilantro garlic flavored meat. The plantain chunk brought a sweet contrast to the savory flavors of the bowl and the fresh corn, onion and cilantro brightened the overall flavor of the dish.

Along with the inti sauce, I asked for a side of the other house sauce, the creamy aji (garlic) amarillo so I could dip my fork in both sauces before each bite for an added tangy, salty dimension of flavor. The inti sauce was spicy and acidic while the aji amarillo sauce was garlic heavy and salty, both of which were tasty additions to the dish.

After we finished our meals, my friends and I headed to the most intriguing part of the restaurant,  the speakeasy-esque whiskey and cocktail bar tucked away at the back of the location. The bar, which can be accessed through what looks like a walk-in fridge door in the back of the restaurant, isn’t necessarily secret but it isn’t advertised or obvious to the average customer. I saw the bar on TikTok and knew my friends and I would love to check it out.

The room was dimly lit with a seating area of high-top tables and cartoon collage wallpaper, a counter with red bar stools that wrapped around the whole room and the bar counter. The white brick walls gave the room a subway station vibe.

I chose the funky sasquatch ($11) with Don Q Cristal rum, plantain syrup, passionfruit, lime, club soda and angostura bitters from the specialty cocktail menu and my friend tried the punk ($12) with Heaven’s Door whiskey, cherry-vanilla azucar and angostura bitters.

Check out Chicken + Whiskey next time you’re near Logan Circle for a lively one-stop-shop for a hearty dinner and drinks.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.