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Tiny La Poulette offers perfect, pedigreed, pricey rotisserie chicken, but there’s a deal

Chickens getting their bronze on in the oven at La Poulette. (La Poulette photos)

A tiny – and we mean tiny – French bistro, just north of Downtown Delray, specializes in rotisserie farm-to-table chicken

How do you say rotisserie chicken in French?

Try La Poulette.  That’s the name of the year-old tiny bistro at 216 NE 6th Street (Federal Highway) in Delray Beach, whose specialty is French-style rotisserie chicken. The theme here is farm-to-table.

I — and apparently many others — discovered La Poulette via its $49 chicken dinner deal on Groupon.  In fact, I was asked if I had a Groupon when I reserved a table for dinner. The deal included a whole-roasted chicken, two sides, two desserts and a bottle of house wine. (The current Groupon deal, reduced to $45, is less generous. Instead of a bottle of wine, you’ll receive two tastings, and dessert is not included.)

The restaurant also offers breakfast, which we did not try.

La Poulette’s entrance

To say that La Poulette is tiny is an understatement. There are just a handful of parking spaces in the lot, which you enter at the corner of NE 2nd Ave. It’s formerly the site of Granger’s. On-street parking in this semi-residential neighborhood, just north of downtown, is scarce. There are a handful of inside tables and a few outside, plus some seats at the bar. But it’s not cozy. Tables, barely large enough to hold the plates of four diners, are packed closely together and your neighbors’ conversations are easily overheard. The bucket chilling our wine had to be placed on the floor. And to reach the restrooms you must exit the restaurant and find them outside, gas station style.

Inside La Poulette

The time we visited there was but one server, who hustled and bustled throughout the evening, reciting by rote the limitations of the Groupon deal and the menu.

The pedigreed chicken, nicely bronzed and served on a platter is beautiful to the eye. And, to be sure, it’s crisp on the outside and extraordinarily flavorful, more so than a bird from Boston Market or a local supermarket or wholesale club. Indeed, it’s perfectly cooked. Per the restaurant’s website: “The process begins with all-natural chickens, raised on family farm, free roaming, antibiotic and hormone free and with no artificial ingredients. They are then seasoned with herbs and cooked on our French-imported rotisserie machine.” Tiny cups of a garlicky sauce are served on the side as an accompaniment.  On the menu sans Groupon, a half chicken with a side will set you back $15 at lunch, $17 at dinner.  I’m sure the price reflects the quality, but $30-$34 for a whole bird (even with a side) seems a bit much when a whole rotisserie chicken can be had at supermarket or warehouse club for as little as $5. At the Boston Market on Glades Road in Boca Raton, a half chicken with two sides costs $8.99.

Chicken, served with onions

At La Poulette some of the side dishes just aren’t on the same level as its bird.  Mashed potatoes were gummy. Vichy carrots, slices of the orange root vegetable boiled in sugar water, were mushy. More interesting: a quinoa-kale salad flecked with apples, dried cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, carrots and feta cheese and presented with a tiny cup of dressing.

Desserts, made in-house, are rustic. A crème brûlée, considered two desserts under the Groupon deal, was a lightish yellow custard topped with a thick caramelized sugar crust.  A pastry jar — actually a disposable plastic cup — of chocolate mousse topped with fresh whipped cream, was dense, but grainy.

Desserts in a cup

Creme Brûlée

The wine, a white described by Groupon as a chardonnay, was replaced by a Villages de France sauvignon blanc. Not my ideal choice to accompany roast chicken, but there was no option. The wine, by the way, sells for $7 to $9 a bottle at retail.

You shouldn’t come to La Poulette for the deal. Come for the near-perfect chicken. Just bear in mind that your total experience may be less than perfect.

La Poulette

215 NE 6th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33483

(561) 908-2396

lapoulettefl.com 

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