Olive Street, Jonestown, San Diego black activists, Sherley Williams, the blind, the fat, the author's family
Jangchup Phelgyal 8:30 a.m., May 26
It wouldn’t fit into the list of pure awesomeness that was Ambrose Martin’s Fried Chicken Survey from the Feast! issue (because they only do rotisserie birds), but Mr. Chick in Mission Gorge deserved a little look-see nonetheless. Locked away in an underwhelming plaza, the restaurant boasts a seedy bar for a neighbor and close proximity to a hospital. With such defining features, it’s easy to say the deck is stacked against this house of Greek cuisine and roasted poultry, but life isn’t fair, is it?
Decor isn’t a priority, the general effect being most evocative of pizza places or the gyros and kebab shops often owned by Greek-Americans. Off-primary colors and neon lights dominate while football emanates from the lone television in the corner.
My friend and I were the only customers.
With hunger aforethought, we order the whole chicken “family deal” that was supposed to serve 2-3 people. At $18.95, it didn’t seem like the most compelling deal in town for two. Had we been three, the mathematics would have worked out more favorably. As it was, the meal proved substantial. He may have been broken down to his primary bits (breasts, thighs, etc.) but the chicken had obviously been a strapping young lad in his day. The crispy skin gave way to a fine sheen of succulent grease and the meat hadn’t been dried out during the cooking process, which must have been a bit “low and slow,” as the bones pulled free of the chicken with barely any coaxing. The $7.99 special price for a whole chicken, unadorned, seems a solid value for such delectable meats. Skipping the Sysco-fabulous BBQ sauce is more than acceptable, as the chicken is fine on its own.
Side dishes were a rather stark contrast to the meat. “Mediterranean style” green beans were surely pulled from a can before being soaked in a weak tomato sauce. Mashed potatoes and gravy were somewhat better. The volcanic starch formation overflowed with brown gravy that promised many spoonsful of pre-Thanksgiving joy. Although neither the mash nor the gravy was exceptional, they retained a level of adequacy that the beans didn’t have. Although baked beans are listed on the menu online, they didn’t seem to be written on the menu in the restaurant. Perhaps they would have been a better alternative to the beans.
Beyond chicken, Mr. Chick also does barbecue ribs and a variety of “Olympia Cafe” Greek diner food (gyros, burgers, baklava, etc). From what I observed, it would be identical to what you might grab at somewhere like Alexi’s (in Hillcrest), so it’s fair to say the chicken is the thing worth making a trip to Mission Gorge for! If I had to do it all over again, I’d just buy two whole chickens and have leftover meat for chicken salad.
6618 Mission Gorge Road