The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Putting a Portuguese spin on chicken is The Chicken Coop, newly hatched in the former Huntington digs of Bad Dawgs. The sliver of a takeout shop, with minimal counter seating, is owned by Alison and Eduardo Nobre of the nearby Portuguese restaurant Fado.
On a recent afternoon, I ordered a complete meal for four called the Wagon Wheel which, for $36.50, consisted of two chickens, four side dishes and four biscuits.
The chicken, rather than being speared through the middle, whole, is cooked in quarters, pressed inside the wire cages of a grilltiserie cooking mechanism imported from Portugal. Clearly, some skin had pulled off in the process. While I found the bird subtly garlicky, it wasn’t as deeply flavored as many Latin American chickens are. According to Alison Nobre, the bird is lightly marinated so that its natural flavor comes through. Sauces, which may be brushed on or served on the side, add verve. I got the spicy piri piri as well as the garlic lemon butter.
Best, among sides, was the roasted garlic Parmesan creamed spinach. Jalapeño and Cheddar mac and cheese was creamy and satisfying — not bad, for having come from a steam table. But broccoli florets with crushed hazelnuts had an oddly harsh flavor; much better was rice with lentils and onions.
You can get a half chicken for $5.99 and a whole one for $9.99. In addition to chicken, there are such options as Big Al’s burger, two marinated patties with fried onion rings, chipotle sauce, Gouda, lettuce and tomato ($11.50), a shrimp po’boy ($10.50) and the Eddie Bang Bang sandwich with shredded chicken, blue cheese, hot sauce, fries, coleslaw and more on rustic country bread ($9.50).
One quibble: The perpetual parking shortage in Huntington village can make a quick chicken pickup into a lengthier affair.
The Chicken Coop is at 44 Gerard St., Huntington, 631-423-2667.