Casa dos Frangos — the Portuguese sounds so much better than "House of Chickens," but that’s what the name of this new Williston Park restaurant means.
In the context of a Portuguese restaurant, however, frango conjures up much more than a clucking bird. Traditionally the chicken is marinated and butterflied (split down the backbone and splayed) before being grilled over live coals; the butterflying allows it to cook faster and more evenly. It gets another boost of flavor by being served alongside the incendiary Portuguese hot sauce, piri piri.
This is all in order at Casa dos Frangos, which opened about a month ago on Willis Avenue just north of Hillside Avenue. The brief menu features chicken, pork spareribs, grilled salmon, a few sandwiches and the great Portuguese collards-chorizo soup, caldo verde. Among the sides are fries, sweet potato fries, black beans, white rice and mixed vegetables. Daily specials include Monday’s jardineira, beef stew; Thursday’s frango com espaguete, chicken-spaghetti casserole; and Friday’s bacalhau à brás, a traditional dish made from salt cod and fried potatoes bound with scrambled eggs. (Note to self: Visit Casa dos Frangos on a Friday.)
The front of the restaurant is given over to the charcoal grills and serving takeout customers, but pass through the saloon doors into a sunny-yellow dining room, decorated with photos of Portugal, ceramic jugs and plenty of roosters — the national symbol. Eat, drink and / or watch Portuguese television at the blue-and-white tiled bar.
Casa dos Frangos is at 477½ Willis Avenue, Williston Park, 516-416-4292.