For those whose thoughts of going out for a chicken dinner are shaped by industrial giants like Boston Market or KFC, allow me to introduce you to Mami Nora’s. This is Peruvian style rotisserie chicken, and its presence is spreading in the Triangle. While Lucky Chicken in Clayton has emerged as a favorite of Greg Cox, Mami Nora’s has recently expanded into Raleigh from Durham. The ambience of Mami Nora’s in Raleigh is spartan, but the chicken (and the price) more than make up for it. I recently ordered a ¼ chicken with two sides for only $5.50. White meat will set you back $0.50 more, but you do get a fair bit more meat. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Inside the dark, flavorful skin was some of the juiciest, most tender chicken meat I’ve had in a long time. While the white meat was well executed, the dark meat was mouth-wateringly delectable. A sidebar offers the choice of two sauces, one sort of a mayonnaise-mustard hybrid and the other a potently spicy green salsa-like concoction, but you don’t really need either of them. For side items, I tried the plantains and black beans. Both were good, but the soupy, mildly spicy beans were particularly satisfying. The beans came in a small sytrofoam cup that was easily big enough to share. I also tried a special jerk chicken sandwich and some french fries. The sandwich was large, but, surprisingly, a bit bland. The fries were thinner than the wide-cut ones pictured on their website (and which I don’t usually care for). They were more of a “Five Guys” style, and they were pretty good. Mami Nora’s also has a huge selection of Latin sodas and beverages, including Coke with real sugar, Inca Cola, pomegranate drinks, and an intriguiging coconut soda. They also have excellent caramel cookies. These shortbread-dulce de leche-powdered sugar disks are crumbly and flavorful, but, at $1.75 each, a bit pricey. Overall, Mami Nora’s is a great addition to Raleigh. It’s cheap enough for the whole family, and good enough to keep coming back. And it may make you forget about certain chain restaurants entirely.
Rating: * * * *