I remember those narrow halls well -- navigating the crowds of acid-jazz heads that packed all the way to the front door. Sidling up to the crowded bar to order La Fin Du Mondes and alligator tenders. Listening to the Pastorius brothers belt out hours of non-stop riff-age from the small stage.
But now the stage is gone. In its place, a sunny dining area with modest wooden tables. On the walls where beer signs and posters once hung, vintage Peruvian football jerseys and framed black and white photos of footballers posing on the pitch. And instead of a Southern-fried assortment of Cajun and native Floridian grub, the smells of rotisserie chicken with clove and slowly grilling anticuchos marinated in cumin waft from the kitchen.
Yep, in that spot where the legendary Alligator Alley once stood is Goyo
El Pollo, a quaint Peruvian restaurant and rotisserie serving authentic
South American cuisine seven days a week.
The quiet restaurant draws in Latin families who eat a wide range of
Peruvian specialties. The menu features big on authentic dishes like
fresh-made ceviche and papas a la huancaina made with aji amarillo and
soft white cheese. The menu is modest and skews towards light fare like
fish sandwiches and grilled chicken breast. More rustic options like aji
de gallina (stewed chciken) and lomo saltado compete alongside fragrant
rotisserie chicken spiced with cloves and cumin, cooked juicy with a
golden-crisp skin that would smash anything whipped up at Boston Market.
Also great are those anticuchos. I sampled an order of the cumin-scented
beef hearts, char-grilled over an open flame and served with a piquant
green chili sauce ($7.95). The chicken is equally good, served with a
comforting portion of house-made black beans and rice. During lunch
hours, a quarter of that chicken along with two sides is just $4.95
The space has received a little makeover as well, shortening that long
bar to enclose part of the kitchen that was exposed and putting in a few
flat screen TVs tuned to sporting events. Friday through Sunday the
restaurant offers two for one beers including Peruvian imports like
Cusquena and Cristal. And on July 28 the place is celebrating Peru's
Independence Day with live music and beer and food specials all night.
It probably won't be the Pastorius brothers and La Fin Du Monde, but
here's to living in the future.
Goyo El Pollo
1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park 33334
Open Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
noon to 10 p.m.