Piko Riko | Humboldt Park | South American | Restaurant

Piko Riko Image

Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days

Price: $

Rotisserie chicken and other Colombian specialties.

Restaurant Details

I was keenly interested in this Humboldt Park Colombian chicken joint thanks to the associative allure of its name, which is very close to Pico Rico, a now-defunct but much beloved bird spinner that operated just a half a mile west back in the early part of this century. "Pico rico" or "piko riko" means "nice kiss" or "rich peak" (depending on how you interpret Shakira's "Gordita"), but despite their similar locations and names, the two restaurants aren't related. And neither are the chickens, which at noon on any given day are lined up under a heat lamp, next to the cold rotisserie, like sickly puppies waiting for adoption (and I don't mean perros caliente). But a half of a hacked, rewarmed, day-old chicken with potatoes, plantains, and beans and rice is a mere $6.75, which is still a small price to pay even if it's for wrinkly skin and mealy muscle. With liberal doses of the bright green jalapeno and cilantro-spiked aji, you can pretend they're just leftovers from a much more satisfying dinner the previous night. Which they probably are. Otherwise there are plenty of Colombian standards to be had: grilled steak, sauteed tongue, fried fish, big meaty platters or bandejas paisa—including steak, sausage, pork rinds, fried eggs, and all the associated starches—and soups of the day. Check in on Thursdays and Saturdays to see how the leftover chickens perform in those.

Mike Sula

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Price: $

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