Eating responsibly isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse, and it certainly doesn’t drive my dining-out decisions. Pen-raised, deep-fried, cheese-covered and bacon-wrapped? Drop me a bechamel on the side and swipe my card.
So, believe me when I say that the roasted chicken at Chix, the organic, eco-conscious takeout joint on 11th at U is not-to-be-missed delicious. Open since the fall, the restaurant sits just past the fabled G Spot, in a small townhouse with two floors of restaurant space. The ground-level entrance opens into a bright, freshly-renovated first floor, accented in shades of green and dominated by an open air kitchen, a Rocklands-esque chalkboard menu and a slim counter. The winding stairs lead up to a casual dining area (with flatscreens), perfect for a quick bite and maybe even worth hanging out in for an extra bottle of one of their small, local craft beers.
The Chix menu is appropriately limited. They offer simple, home-cooked, healthy meals, prepared with fresh ingredients and care. The standout chicken comes in three flavors, “Chix”, Peruvian and Colombian. Each are long-marinated, moist and flavorful, but the Colombian, soaked in coffee and coconut-milk, is especially good. Paired with either the surprisingly spicy “green” (looks brown to me) salsa, the smooth pepper-red roasted salsa or the sweet curry mustard sauce, a quarter chicken ($8.99, with two sides) always leaves me wanting one more drumstick.
Unlike the always-on chicken, the quality of the sides runs the gamut. Simple flavors shine in both the chickpeak salad, with organic chick peas, green peppers, onions, & parsley and the roasted sweet potato cubes. I was surprised to enjoy Chix’s take on mac and cheese, a baked vermicelli and cheddar in non-fat milk, topped with breadcrumbs.
The homemade black bean hummus was a little bland, and the too-stiff wheat pita didn’t help the cause. The chix veggie mix, a combination of corn, green peppers, red peppers, and onions, has come bright and fresh at times, but overcooked and limp as well.
The beverage selection featured only house-made flavored waters and teas until quite recently, when a few local craft brews were added to the mix. They offer three brews from Baltimore’s Oxford Organic Brewing Company (owned by Clipper City). The Raspberry Hefeweizen was cloyingly sweet, but the mild Amber and the medium-hoppy Pale Ale are both worth drinking, especially while waiting as the kitchen boxes up your takeout.
For the more health- or eco-conscious diner, Chix reports that their chickens are 100% natural, free-range, hormone-free and antibiotic-free, they seem to use mostly organic produce, and they use environmentally-friendly carry-out containers, beverage cups and silverware. In fact, whenever they pack up an order, they always ask if silverware is necessary… and they positively beam when it isn’t.
The only thing that keeps me from Chix is the walk. If they ever start delivering, my man over at Great Wall is going to be ma-la pissed, ‘because he won’t be seeing too much of me.