RESTAURANT WEEK: It’s not just about the chicken at Nelly’s

Nelly’s Chicken has been around for more than a decade, most of which was spent as a counter-service storefront on Alex Road in Miamisburg, where its charcoal rotisserie chicken developed a bit of a cult following.

Now, Nelly’s is approaching its first anniversary in its new Centerville location at 79 S. Main St. (Ohio 48), where it morphed into a full-service restaurant. And although its moist, smoky chicken is still the best in town, the restaurant’s menu spotlights other Bolivian specialties, accompanied by a welcome draft craft beer and wine list.

Nelly’s was our first stop for Restaurant Week, and it did not disappoint. Particularly if you’re a big eater, or enjoy leftovers, this restaurant should be on your list.

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Our first course consisted of two big-as-your-fist empanadas, cheese or chicken (we ordered one of each), served with a creamy red-pepper sauce. The chicken version was crammed full of shredded chicken well-seasoned with onions and red peppers. The appetizer was a meal unto itself.

There are two choices of entree: one-half — and I mean a full one-half, with breast-wing and thigh-leg pieces — of Nelly’s signature chicken, which is marinated daily with herbs and spices, then slow-roasted in a charcoal rotisserie. The chicken is moist, and the smoke present in every bite, although not pungent or overpowering.

Nelly’s own description of its second entree option is spot-on: “Pique Macho is a heaping plate of bite-sized pieces of seasoned beef, sausage, green pepper, onion, fried potatoes and hard-boiled egg.

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The plate is indeed heaping, and it would indeed take a macho diner — or at least one with a very powerful appetite — to plow through this mighty mountain of food. The thick-cut fried potatoes form the bottom layer, then the chunks of sausage and sliced beef, all topped off with a few slices of raw onion, green pepper and tomato wedges, along with a quartered, hard-boiled egg. The sliced marinated beef is particularly flavorful and tender.

Dessert choices include a generous slab of house-made flan, or a rich, decadent dulce de leche cheesecake.

We needed three to-go boxes, but we weren’t complaining. Nelly’s was a fine launch to Restaurant Week, and worth a return visit after Restaurant Week is over.

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