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Guide to best rotisseries in L.A.
Where to buy the best birds in L.A. County THE FOLLOWING, in alphabetical order, represents a broad spectrum of sources for beautiful rotisserie birds, freshly made and ready to go. Some offer excellent meal package prices; several have exceptional side dishes.
Gourmet Grill Masters. This catering company sends its chicken rotisserie truck to farmers markets seven days a week. For $11, you get a free-range corn-fed chicken, cooked without butter or oil. A nice herb rub gives off a seductive cooking aroma and lends a light barbecue kick to the skin. Markets include West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Highland Park, downtown Los Angeles, Westchester, Sierra Madre, Northridge, Carson, Westwood, South Pasadena, Long Beach, Echo Park, Laguna Beach, Larchmont and Mar Vista. Call or check website for details. (310) 515-1902; (323) 428-3611; www.grillmasters-chicken.com.
Lola's. In a small strip mall in the heart of Van Nuys, staffers at Lola's are busy feeding the flames of the rotisserie at the front of the restaurant. Oak, hard and dry, is the preferred wood. Lola's serves a variety of foods, but rotisserie chicken made with a wet citrus-and-spice Peruvian marinade is the menu's centerpiece. This branch cooks 100 to 120 a day. A large chicken with two sides such as an enormous order of hand-cut long fries or beans made with chiles, bacon and onions is $14.99. 14851 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, (818) 988-2181; and 230 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 956-5888.
Moishe's Restaurant. In operation for 16 years, Moishe's has probably the most varied and best tasting side dishes of the Mediterranean-style rotisserie places, all made right there: hummus, eggplant salad, tabbouleh, delicious pilaf, many more. Among the choices are some real buys: whole chicken (straightforward and juicy) with pita, pink turnip pickles and garlic sauce for $9.75; half a chicken with two sides for $9.75. In the Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 936-4998.
The Oinkster. This restored and updated former drive-in has ample indoor/outdoor seating with umbrellas out front, its own parking lot and a big sign that reads "Slow Fast Food: Pastrami, Hamburgers, Chicken." A plain but moist, barely seasoned, slightly wet-brined golden bird a la carte with a garlicky aioli is $8.75 and can be accessorized with typical American sides such as coleslaw and fries. 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 255-OINK.
Pollo a la Brasa. The most popular of the Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken places, this spot always boasts a line. The Okinawan-born owner had several chicken places in Peru before opening this shop 17 years ago. He brought the giant 64-chicken rotisserie from Peru; it has pride of place at the front of the shop where the birds on it crackle and spurt. It's all wood-fired -- oak and eucalyptus. The wine-based marinade gives the chicken a reddish golden finish; there's a pronounced smoky note. A chicken's about $10. Add rice, beans, a generous portion of fries and/or an interesting mixed salad made with cauliflower, beets and cucumber. 764 S. Western Ave. (at 8th Street), Los Angeles, (213) 382-4090, and 16527 S. Vermont Ave., Gardena, (310) 715-2494.
Pollos El Brasero. It's pretty much all chicken here with the rotisserie right in the window catching your eye as you drive past. There's always a line at lunch. The style is Peruvian, using all-wood fire, with a light marinade that lets a no-nonsense hint of fire flavor come through. Sides are basic: fries, beans and salad and a particularly good and potent aji, chile sauce. Whole chicken a la carte is $9.70. 2281 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, (213) 381-6060.
Reddi-Chick. Established 58 years ago, this landmark counter in Brentwood Country Mart has been under the current owners 29 years. Take your $11.95 a la carte bird home or step out to the courtyard and partake on umbrella-shaded picnic tables. House-made sides -- beans, slaw and fries -- are available to go with that bird, which has a nice natural flavor but can be a little dry (ask for one that's less cooked). 225 26th St., Santa Monica, (310) 393-5238. www.brentwoodcountrymart.com.
Soumarelo Fresh Mediterranean Grill. Birds at this 2-year-old Armenian restaurant are slow-cooked and very flavorful. They're brined overnight and marinated for one day and have a moist, tender finish. A terrific value: a whole chicken with two sides, huge pita and a strong, delicious garlic sauce is $7.99. Choose from an excellent array of homemade hot and cold sides. 1090 N. Allen Ave, Pasadena, (626) 791-0999.
--Judith Kane Jeanson