Golden Chicken is an island of light on a dark stretch of Bay Shore's Main Street. In this cozy little storefront, with seating for 24, Angel Huaylinos cooks the food of his native Peru. Yes, you can get the namesake rotisserie chicken, burnished gold and spice-infused throughout. But poultry is only the beginning of what you'll find here.
What you probably won't find is speed. Weekdays, there's only one very sweet waiter and a kitchen that can be a bit slow. But a ramekin of addictive toasted corn nuts, accompanied by a saucer of creamy hot sauce, can keep you happily occupied between courses.
One dinner begins auspiciously with papa ala huancaina, warm sliced potatoes and hard-boiled egg blanketed with what looks like mayonnaise but is actually a savory cream sauce. Leche de tigre, a shrimp and fish cocktail similar to seviche, delivers a lemon blast that can open your eyes wide.
If you order the No. 1 family-style whole rotisserie chicken combo, geared to feed about four for $22, you'll also get an avocado salad -- the basic iceberg-tomato-cucumber mix with sliced avocado -- as well as salchipapas, a curiously compelling Peruvian specialty of French fries topped with sliced South American hot dogs. Hard to lay off the stuff.
Soup here can be a meal. The parihuela, a mixed seafood soup-stew, has shrimp, calamari, mussels, crab legs and octopus in a spicy red broth. A shame the shrimp are overdone. Overcooking also mars the chupe de camarones, shrimp soup mellowed with milk. King of the seafood selections is the irresistible chaufa de mariscos, a Peruvian riff on Chinese fried rice.
The traditional specialty lomo saltado is a flavorsome stir-fry of beef, onions and tomatoes. In some interpretations of the dish, French fries are mixed in; here, they surround the meat and vegetables, averting soggy spuds. A surprise hit is tallarin verde con pechuga de pollo, in essence, spaghetti with Peruvian pesto plated alongside a thin and surprisingly moist, well-marinated grilled boneless chicken breast.
Conclude with the comforting rice pudding or light, eggy flan.
No question, there's much promise here. And much more than just chicken.