I use dining certificates from restaurant.com whenever I want to try out a new restaurant. It works like this, you go to restaurant.com and put in your zip code and click go. It will give you a list of restaurants in your area that have dining certificates available. You can usually get a $10 certificate for three dollars or a $25 for 10 bucks. Sometimes there will be a condition on it saying you have to spend a certain amount. I’ve never had a restaurant enforce this yet. Anyway last night I was in the mood for some different food and since I’ll be heading to South America in less than two months I’ve been wanting to explore that portion of the cuisine world. In Washington D.C. we ate Chilean empanadas which were wonderful. We don’t have any real South American restaurants close without going into the city but I found El Pechugon in Everett that had a $25 certificate available and it specialized in Latin American and Carribbean food. I figured the meal would only cost me 10 dollars so it was worth a try.
El Pechugon isn’t hard to find once you’ve found it because it’s near the Everett Mall but it’s in a business complex that has been mostly deserted so you don’t expect to find it there. On entering we found tables covered with white table clothes and soft music. The wall decor was relaxed but the tables looked very formal. Any formal stuffiness was erased as soon as we were greeted by a waiter. All of the people working there were warm and pleasent and looked like they were from somewhere else. That’s a good sign in my book because I don’t really want the guy that was serving up fries at McDonalds last week working at the local ethnic joint, it spoils the mood.
A quick glance at the menu reveals that they focus a lot on chicken and seafood. What a strange combination but it works. You can go to the El Pachugon website and view the menu as a pdf. Prices have changed a bit since the pdf was created but they’re close.
Shrip and Crab crêpe
We ordered the Shrimp and Crab crêpe as a starter. I was glad that our server said crep and not crape like most Americans. I have people “correct” me on the pronunciation of the word all the time and it’s irritating. Apparently the Spanish pronunciation is similar to the French in that the ê is a sounded as a short e and not as a long a. This is definately not a French crêpe as it’s made from a variation on a tortilla. The tortillas we got looked like Mexican tortillas but didn’t have the same flavor or texture and were much thinner. I liked them. Anyway the tortilla was folded over in half and stuffed with cheese, shrimp and crab and served with a hot mango salsa. I liked as did my kids. It costed $9 but was good.
For our main meal we ordered 4 dishes knowing that we couldn’t eat all the food. I told them up front that our plan was to try a lot of different things. We ordered the Pollo en Mole, Pollo en Empanizado, Pollo en salsa Dulce, Pollo en Pipian. yep, they like their chicken!
Pollo en Mole:
Mole is a Mexican sauce and there are only two places in the Seattle area that make decent mole and that’s Frida’s in South Everett (mole poblano) and La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard (mole negro). I can now add a third place as this mole was good. It tasted like mole negro to me even though it wasn’t labeled as such. There were bits of chicken in it and it was served with rice, beans and a sweet corn mound. I don’t know what else to call it as it’s not on the online menu but it was listed in the restaurant menu. The corn stuff was very good and maybe addictive. The beans were standard fare Mexican style beans and were nothing to write home about. They’re there just in case you didn’t eat enough and though you’d starve if you didn’t fill the empty spot with something.
Pollo en Empanizado
Ah, fried chicken! My son always wants fried chicken no matter where we eat so I let him order this and I was pleasantly suprised at how good it was. The skin was thin and seasoned with something so it tasted good. It also came with beans, rice and the corn stuff.
Pollo en salsa Dulce
I asked our waiter what he’d have if he could choose anything and he chose the Pollo en salsa Dulce otherwise known as barbeque chicken. It was bits of chicken in a barbeque sauce non unlike the sauce you get at texas barbeques. No matter it was real nice tasting and also came with rice, beans and the corn stuff.
Pollo en Pipian
chicken in a hot sauce that tasted a little like buffalo chicken spices or cajun. It was ok but my least favorite of the four dishes we ordered. It wasn’t that spicy either.
We went on a Friday night and there was a man there that had about 4 types of wind instruments around his neck like the things you see people playing in the Andes mountains. He also had a guitar and played mainly South American music. This is a wonderful break from all the obnoxious jazz played in restaurants in the Seattle area. Anyway I will be returning to El Pechugon for several reasons. I was impressed with the quality of the food, the environment, the service and the music that plays on Friday nights. What is truly amazing is that you can come here and eat dinner for $6.99! These plates would cost $9-13 at most Mexican restaurants.