147 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington 489-5268
I recently wrote about my obsession with Chicken Charlie's. Lately, I have craved rotisserie chicken the way pregnant ladies jones for pickles and ice cream. Luckily, the North End Rotisserie opened Labor Day weekend.
It was difficult for me to drive by all week on my way to work and not stop in. I felt like the empty chicken suit waving customers in at the door was calling to me specifically. On Saturday, I finally had time for dinner at the new spot.
The bright space is filled with poultry-themed knick knacks. If you're one of those people who find chickens and their beady little eyes creepy, you will be thoroughly frightened here.
I ordered at the counter and was served immediately. Food might be kept warm and served cafeteria-style, but it is fresh. A giant chalkboard on one wall lists the ever-changing sides, which number nearly twenty. Most entrées come with two of them. Despite that, nothing is more than ten dollars.
I took the opportunity to try three such meals, and even with drinks, my total was less than thirty dollars.
I started with half of a rotisserie chicken ($9.49). Unfortunately, the bird had come out of a hot box, and its skin was crêpe-y and not at all crisp. The sweet glaze with which it was coated was pleasant, but I was disappointed by the lack of crunch. This is likely a growing pain, and I hope when the cooks do learn to keep the skin crisp, they are still able to produce as tender and juicy a breast as they did on Saturday.
Choosing sides was difficult, but mashed potatoes are always a must. Here, they were wonderfully clumpy, though also creamy, and tasted as much of garlic as of potato. A portion of stuffing was smooth and herbaceous.
The options I chose to accompany my meatloaf ($8.99) — which was moist and seasoned with pleasantly smoky chipotle peppers — were less conventional. I went crazy for the orzo salad. Its dominant flavors were fresh basil and tangy feta —just my style. I was less excited about the "creamy, cheesy spinach." Though it, too, had chunks of feta, it was reminiscent of spanakopita filling, and not particularly creamy. Next time, I look forward to trying watermelon salad or baked mac 'n' cheese.
The night's greatest success was the individual-sized chicken pot pie ($4.99). it was very small, but was bolstered with a big chunk of cornbread, as are all the meals at North End Rotisserie. I have long fetishized the cornbread I got from Boston Chicken (now known as Boston Market) as a kid. These individual loaves looked and tasted exactly the same, though they were made from more coarsely ground cornmeal, and were not quite as moist as my childhood favorite.
But back to the pie: It was perfection. The big chunks of chicken were well-seasoned, the veggies (carrots, peas and celery) fresh. The sauce was creamy and flavorful with a home-y touch that I can't quite place. Maybe it was love? Either way, I'll be back for another one soon. And to try some berry bread pudding.