DC’s first location of the South African, Portuguese-themed chicken restaurant is now open in the city’s increasingly non-Chinese Chinatown (right next to Hooters and Mehak Indian restaurant). The specialty is spicy roasted chicken cooked with sauce seasoned with peri-peri, an African chili pepper. The sauce isn’t that hot, but it has good flavor and bottles on the table let customers add as much medium, hot, or extra hot as they please. The chicken is tender, juicy, and served on the bone with plenty of tasty skin. They also serve liver dishes, which sound intriguing but weren’t what I was going to choose on my first visit (despite Tyler Cowen’s general advice). The sides aren’t exciting — the fries were standard, the “spicy rice” very mild.
What I’d really like to see in this part of DC is a good Peruvian rotisserie chicken place, but Nando’s is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that has so many characterless restaurants. And call me insensitive, but this ad idea made me laugh:
Nando’s is known in South Africa for its humorous but often controversial adverts. One such television advert from 2000, involved a blind woman being led into a pole intentionally and knocked unconscious by her guide dog, which then proceeded to eat the chicken that the woman had just purchased. This caused an uproar within the blind community and caused the South African Advertising Standards Authority to call for the withdrawal of the advert.
Nando’s is at 819 7th St. NW.