Hidden inside the Fresh Choice Marketplace food court, Falafelo is an unassuming Mediterranean food stall that offers giant falafels and shawarma, vegetarian options and—most importantly—one of the best grilled-whole-chicken combos in the county. For $14.99, you get the spread above, which includes a whole chicken under a bed of rice, a side salad seasoned with sumac, a homemade earthy hummus, a large sheet of lavash, and a heaping cup of addictive garlic spread ala Zankou Chicken.
Once you place your order, they cut up a flattened and par-cooked chicken, place it in a metal press and finish it on the grill in three glorious stages. First, the cook re-chars the bird, making sure to add a deep layer of flavor from the grill by blackening each piece.
He then takes the press and makes a chicken teepee, smoking the chicken for a few minutes with the oil and fat that drips off the charred bits down to the flames below.
Finally, each hunk of meat is basted with a house barbecue sauce that includes loads of garlic, lemon juice, chicken fat, oil and various special spices. Tossing and slamming the flat metal press on the grill in an eruption of flame, the marinated chicken is finished with a complex crust of Maillard reactions (look it up!) that tastes equally rich, fatty and acidic with a funk of garlic and fragrant herbs.
Complete your order by choosing between white rice, Spanish rice, or curry rice with cranberries (go with the curry!), and you’ll have a feast worthy of its own KFC multi-actor commercials or something…
Falafelo, 9922 Katella Ave., Garden Grove, (714)638-8699.
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