Cheap Eats: Grille Twelve24 is all over the place, in a good way

City Paper

The menu at Grille Twelve24 is kind of all over the place: It serves American food, including sandwiches, burgers, and fried chicken; Mediterranean fare, such as falafel and gyros; and Peruvian chicken. But so far, the counter-service eatery’s disjointed approach to cuisine seems to be working—when we first stopped in last month for lunch shortly after it opened, most of the tables in the simply designed space were already occupied. We decided to try out the Mediterranean platter ($10.99), which consisted of strips of chicken, lamb, a small Greek salad, and pita bread, along with two sides—we chose black beans and the house rice. Grille Twelve24 has a liquor license and we’re never one to say no to lunchtime libations, so we got a Natty Boh on draft ($2.99) while we waited. The chicken was good but unremarkable, while the lamb was surprisingly moist and flavorful. But as we munched on our pita bread and enjoyed the black beans, which were heavily flavored with cilantro, we couldn’t help but longingly eye our dining companion’s Peruvian chicken and resolved to come back to get our own serving of it.

We finally ventured back to Grille Twelve24 recently for a quick dinner and ordered the quarter Peruvian chicken ($6.99) and chose string beans and the house rice as the two sides. The food arrived quickly and we eagerly dove into the chicken, which was just as magnificent as we remembered it: Heavily spiced, crispy skin held together meat that was so tender, it seemed to scatter across the plastic plate at the first touch of a fork. The pairing of the spiced skin and the juicy meat beneath it was utterly delicious, and as we eagerly picked away at the bones so as to not let any of the meat go to waste, we wished we had ordered a half chicken ($9.99) instead. 

The sides, however, were a disappointment. The string beans were a bit wimpy, and seemed to have been boiled straight out of a can or a frozen bag with black pepper as the only seasoning. We tried dipping the beans in the two sauces that came with the meal, a spicy cilantro dip and a mustard-mayonnaise dip, and the cilantro dip was good, but it didn’t cover up the limpness of the beans. And while we remembered enjoying the house rice the last time we ordered it, this, too, was underwhelming, with a dull mix of peas, carrot cubes, and corn. The man behind the counter asked us how we enjoyed our meal; he had been incredibly friendly our whole visit, so we couldn’t bear to let him down, and just said that it was good. We’ll certainly go back for more Peruvian chicken, but next time, we’ll stick with the black beans and salad for our sides. 

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