The bottom line: Will need to go back for their chicken in order to make a fair assessment
I had heard good things about Viva Chicken so when it came time to chose a place to go to dinner with my coworkers, I was highly enthused in offering it up as a suggestion. Since they know I am doing the whole food blog thing (and how could they not since I am always talking about my food adventures!) they were willing to take it up as an option. One of the good things is that they are open to venture out of the conventional and it so happened that Viva Chicken turned out to be the most popular vote.
Viva Chicken is located in a mid sized location right in front of Presbyterian Hospital in the Elizabeth neighborhood. The set up seems more like a fast food establishment rather than a sit down restaurant in that you walk up to a register and order your food instead of having a waiter/waitress take your order. This is really not a biggie but it did surprise me as it is a bit different from the other Peruvian style rotisserie restaurants out in the area. Something else that I found interesting, and which my coworkers also mentioned, is that they only offer plastic utensils. So even though eating your food with plastic utensils is much more difficult I did think that their motive of having a “green” restaurant is highly admirable and not often found. They even have a bin for compost!
Well I guess it’s now time I talk about the food. I was very excited to go here because I saw on their menu that they had a sandwich called La Butifarra. Per their menu it is roasted pork, smoked rocoto mayo, lettuce, salsa criolla (onions pickled in lime juice), on ciabatta bread. This dish captured my attention immediately because I had eaten something similar in South America and I loved it. But be careful with the expectations you set out with…
Overall, the sandwich wasn’t bad. It had everything the menu mentioned and apparently it was customizable where you could add slices of avocado, etc. However, for me the pork lacked a bit of flavor and seasoning. The pork was cut into a decent slice but it was also a bit dry. What turned me off from the sandwich was that since the pork was dry and ciabatta bread is not exactly moist, the sanwich was overall dry. I think the salsa crioalla could have aided in this but it was mainly pieces of onions as opposed to something of an onion salsa that could have provided some moisture to the sandwich.
The sandwich I had in South America had similar ingredients except the pork meat was pulled, and the pork had a BBQ flavor (however, no BBQ sauces were used in the actual sandwich). The meat is usually placed on a regular bread bun or in between slices of a loaf of bread. The only other ingredient then added is the salsa criolla, which in my experience is onions pickled in lime juice with salt. The onion plus the liquid of the lime juice give the sandwich that extra kick and moisture.
Like my bottom line says, I don’t want to judge Viva Chicken entirely on this one sandwich as I know that their specialty is rotisserie chicken. And just as an FYI, my coworkers who did get the chicken said it was very flavorful and good. Since I have heard good things about the restaurant I feel I need to go back and try more of their dishes to be fair. However, for the time being the butifarra sandwich wasn’t that impressive.
I also tried their sangria during this outing and you can see my take on it in the sangria face-off review we did previously.