El Pollo Primo - Rockville

Latin American, Mexican
$$$$ ($14 and under)
'

Editorial Review

A window sign boasts that El Pollo Primo is the only restaurant in its category (fast-food) in this area to be given the American Heart Association's Heart Healthy Dining designation. The reasons for this honor -- lots of chickens roasting on a huge grill -- are clearly visible. The interior is stucco and blond wood, furnished with tables and benches. There's a freezer full of dollar treats for children and a choice of beers, some of them Mexican, for grown-ups. You can get various combinations of chicken parts and even, though the menu board doesn't say so, whole chickens for maximum juice. The most popular sides are Mexican rice and frijoles. Bags of white corn tortillas are kept warm in a steamer; they're on a whole different level than the supermarket variety. There's even something for beef-lovers here: carne asada, a good-sized hunk of grilled meat, is $6.

-- Joanne Leonard