Location: 275 W. Old Country Rd. Hicksville, NY 11801
Description: This is the third such Long Island enterprise -- sister Millennium Chickens are in Valley ... More »
Despite a name that suggests a poultry-centric menu, Millennium Chicken III qualifies as a full-fledged Peruvian restaurant. One evening, the catering hall-like space is the scene of two family birthday parties. Another night, a concert by a renowned Dominican singer plays on a TV screen. The crowd -- both multi-Latin and non-Latin -- is into the music. And the food.
This is the third such Long Island enterprise from restaurateur Nury Borbon, who was born in Puerto Rico but whose father hails from Peru. Peru is also the birthplace of executive chef Luz Batista, who came up with most of the recipes used at Borbon's restaurants. But it's Borbon's own marinade -- an invention made with lots of garlic -- that's used for the restaurant's signature rotisserie chicken -- bronze, juicy, flavorsome to the bone.
Precede that with a bowl of aguadito, a vibrant green chicken, cilantro and rice soup with bone-in pieces of poultry. Or with the caldo de gallina, chicken broth similarly loaded with cuts of chicken as well as vegetables.
A classic Peruvian appetizer is anticuchos, or grilled beef hearts, which may, indeed, win your heart with their smoky depth. They're a bit chewy, so be forewarned. Another winning starter is papa rellena, or mashed potatoes stuffed with beef.
The Asian influence on Peru's hybrid cuisine comes through in the chaufa, a South American take on Chinese fried rice. Chaufa de mariscos, made with mixed seafood, is an entirely appealing composition. But the chaufa with chicken would benefit from the use of moist dark meat instead of the drier white. The same white meat undermines the lomo saltado, a stir-fry of chicken, onions and tomatoes with French fries and rice. An Italian-inspired dish, tallarin verdes con bistec, features spaghetti in a vibrant pesto sauce alongside a thin steak. The meat may be cooked to gray and give your jaws a workout but, somehow, its flavor is delicious. An all-out success is pescado frito, flawlessly fried blue snapper filet, a crisp crust overlaying snowy fish.
You may want to finish with the smooth caramel-drenched flan. Or the creamy rich tres leches cake. Better yet, both.