Obligatory Dino’s Lunch Begs the Question: “Anybody Know How to Get Red Chicken Grease Out From Under Fingernails?”
Man, this city loves their chicken. It seems as if every go-to, fallback lunch spot in town has some kind of white meat boneless chicken breast option, as a sandwich or salad, and more often then not topped with avocado. Don’t get me wrong… in the right hands, a boneless chicken breast can be made into a drool inducing Midtown Lunch that still haunts my dreams a week later. But not everybody cooks like Jon & Vinny.
Of course the boneless white meat chicken breast is only one side of the massive L.A. chicken loving food scene. On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got the Midtown Lunch’ish chicken spots. The on-the-bone, skin wrapped whole chicken spots whose economics defy all logic. Your Zankous, your Pollo ala Brasas (on Western), and of course Dino’s Burgers- the Pico institution where most people ignore the namesake item for their real signature dish: a pile of french fries, topped with a red spice marinated greasy half chicken.
Check out the delicious red mess, after the jump.
Dino’s is an L.A. institution, with the obligatory yellowing press clippings on the wall to prove it. Of course “The Guru” is a fan, the L.A. Times deemed it worthy, and Los Angeles Magazine called it one of their favorite cheap eats in the city. (Oh, and speaking of Jon & Vinny from Animal, they took a van load of people there earlier this year and videotaped it.) Sadly though, in this case the article kind of backfired because you realize the platter that you’re paying $5.50 for, used to be $3! Of course, complaining about the price hike is just plain silly… because even at $5.50, the lunch is an amazing deal.
I have no idea what the red stuff on the chicken is, or what they brush on it after it comes off the grill… but all you need to know is it’s delicious. Kind of like a tandoori chicken by way of Greece and Mexico.
Salty, peppery, and super juicy (some would say greasy) it’s a miracle of chicken grilling technology. Surprisingly the fries are fresh cut, and about as good as french fries can get (IMO) on their own. But once the vinegary red chicken grease takes over, they reach some higher plane of existence.
The tortillas they give you are a complete waste of time, but the cool cole slaw makes a perfect chaser for the chicken and fries grease bomb that we downed in under 3 minutes. (No joke, we housed it.) They give you a fork, but this is finger food and must be treated as such… that is, unless you have a meeting after lunch that requires you to shake somebody’s hand. In that case, you might want to bring some industrial strength cleanser on hand.
There’s no question that Dino’s makes more sense at 1am, after a night of some good drinking… but ignore it for lunch at your own peril. Half a chicken with fries and slaw for $5.50? (Plus the cost of hand sanitizer.) Completely worth it, and a chicken lunch I can totally get behind.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The amount of food you get for $5.50 is (to quote the person who recommended the place to me) “redonculous”
- Grease is good! Bones are good! Grilled chicken skin is goood!
- Is there anything anything better than fresh cut french fries?
- Wait, check that… is there anything better than fresh cut french fries soaked in red chicken grease?
- It’s grilled. That means it’s healthy, right? ;-)
- Apparently their burger is good as well, provided you order a double.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I’ve been going to this place since high school, and can’t bring myself to pay for than $5 for it
- Too greasy! You need a shower after eating at this place
- Far better when drunk… and it’s 2 in the morning.
Dino’s Chicken & Burgers, 2575 W Pico Blvd (nr. Vermont), 213-380-3554