Posted By Stephen Rushmore
11/2/2009 8:45:00 PM
Bairrada was my first Portuguese restaurant experience and it still remains my favorite. The original restaurant was a small, humble establishment compared to its current location – which is 3x larger to keep up with demand. Thankfully, the quality has remained intact.
Bairrada serves Portuguese-style BBQ of spit-roasted chicken and meats on long iron skewers. I have been ordering the same dish since my first visit in 1992: the spit-roasted chicken dinner. The meal includes a plate of salad, a plate of half rice and half homemade french fries, a plate of homemade potato chips, and one roasted chicken. It is plenty for two people.
Before cooking the whole chicken, the chef splits it down the middle, folds it apart, and then flattens it between two large, grated-iron clamps to hold the meat together. The tightly clamped chicken is then positioned on an open rotisserie fueled by coals. The BBQ chef attending the chicken sprinkles oil and salt as it slowly cooks to crispness. When the piping hot chicken arrives to your table it is sectioned into the various parts – each of which has a salty and crispy exterior and tender juicy flesh. These hand-size pieces of meat are so addictive you will literally lick the bones dry.
Just when you think the meal can’t get any better, the homemade potato chips arrive. These medium-sliced treats vary between fully-cooked, crispy chips and ones that have a mild crunch and a soft interior. They don’t need additional salt if accompanying the barbecue chicken.
Be sure to arrive very early if you wish to avoid the lines. Tables are filled before 6 PM during dinner service.
"The meat falls right off the bone of this tender and crispy barbecue chicken."
"These potato chips are a bonus when you order the barbecue chicken. These can top any of the bagged variety."
"A typical dinner starts off with this lettuce, onion, and tomato salad that has a light oil-and-vinegar dressing."
"Eat the potato chips before nibbling on these fries."
"This is where the chicken is barbecued over open coals. Notice the bucket and bag in the back - that is where the oil and salt are stored. They are liberally applied during the roasting so the skin turns crispy-dry while the meat stays moist."
"Park your car here and come in through the back entrance."