Upon stepping into Fito's, you'll immediately be overtaken by the smoky, potent and seductive aromas of spice-rubbed and grilled chickens. That appetite-inciting perfume permeates the single room and basically defines this restaurant.
Upon stepping into Fito's, you'll immediately be overtaken by the smoky, potent and seductive aromas of spice-rubbed and grilled chickens. That appetite-inciting perfume permeates the single room and basically defines this restaurant. What's more, it makes a promise to your nose it will later keep with your mouth. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
Fito's is a little shop on the OSU campus that's humble from its exterior but not uninviting once inside. On its walls are charming family photographs, colorful tapestries depicting Peruvian village scenes and a couple TVs. It's bright, new-looking and spic-and-span in there with a hustling team of red-shirted busy workers prepping sauces and stuff and seemingly excited about this well-timed venture.
Still, the most attention-attracting feature in Fito's is the ground zero for all those intoxicating smells - what at first glance appears to be a metal commercial pizza oven. When opened up, though, you see the oven's bottom is lined with smoldering charcoal briquettes and above that are chickens spinning alluringly on metal rods.
In case you haven't guessed by now, Fito's specializes in rotisserie chickens - Peruvian style, to be exact. Though relatively scarce around these parts, Peruvian roasted chicken is pretty popular on the coasts where it rubs elbows with pizza and shawarma shops.
So sure, though it is scarce in our area, Peruvian roasted chicken is hardly exotic-tasting. It's just seared poultry marinated with cumin, black pepper, garlic and a few other harmonious flavoring elements. That said, I can happily report that Fito's does a bang-up job with its birds ($11 for a half chicken with salad and fries).
The skin is nicely browned and crackly in spots and the succulent, juicy meat underneath picks up plenty of that smoky charcoal-imparted flavor. It's real lusty, glistening finger-licking food that appealed to me in a deeply carnivorous fashion.
Double ditto for the Chicharron Sandwich ($6 with fries). Kind of like Peruvian carnitas, it was big crusty chunks of juicy piled-high pork that hit me squarely in the gigantic piggy pleasure center of my brain.
The sandwich (and chicken) came with frozen bag fries that were at least nicely executed. Plus, they went from nondescript to addictive when dipped in the tangy and spicy yellow aioli that is ubiquitous here.
For more local food news and reviews, click to G.A. Benton's blog at blog.columbusalive.com/underthetable