El Inka: Restaurant Guide 2014

48 NE Division St., Gresham, 491-0323, elinkarestaurant.com

[ROTO WORLD] Tiny, family-run Peruvian chicken shack Pollos a la Brasa el Inka is decorated like a 5-year-old's birthday party at a rec center, with cartoon chickens hanging from the tile ceiling and bright paper everywhere, plus pictures of the old country on the walls. But what you'll stare at—and also eat—are those chickens impaled on the mammoth spits. The birds wheel close to the wood fire to char as they rotate, then spin slowly away to cook under lower heat for an aching tenderness. It's like the furnace in The Dark Crystal, and you'd give your soul to it just as easily. You can dabble in the anticucho—a skewer of chewy marinated beef heart ($6.50)—or tear into a citric-to-the-point-of-tannic mixed ceviche ($11.49). But eventually, you will always order the chicken. Half a bird with salad and a mound of fries is a mere $12.49, and serves two. The cumin-rubbed chicken will somehow be both smoky and dry-charred on the outside and succulently moist on the inside. The side sauces—jalapeño mint, neon yellow pepper, tomato—are all pretty much optional, but feel free to mix them up and try combinations. You can't go wrong, because it really doesn't matter what you put on that chicken. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Pro tip:

The yellow Inca Kola isn't really any good—it's undercarbonated yellow syrup—but drinking the national soda of Peru here feels right.

11 am-9 pm daily. $.

Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.