It was a chilly Saturday afternoon in late January when we decided to give Ricky's Chicken a try. Only open a few weeks, I'd heard some good things on Facebook, and saw some pictures of food that made me want to try it. I'm glad we did.
The lady behind the counter was very friendly and knowledgeable and quite helpful, since this was our first visit. Upon viewing some pictures of some of the dishes, and upon the recommendation of Ricky himself, we decided to share two things. First up was the Salchipapa, pictured to the right. As we later learned from Ricky, this is a traditional dish from Ecuador and Columbia. It is french fries topped with a mild smoked sausage, and then drizzled with both a fresh crema and some ketchup, which is also doctored up a bit. This was very, very good and we cleaned that plate. The fries were nice, thick cut, traditional skin-on fries, perfectly cooked. The sausage was very flavorful but also quite mild. What really pushed this over the top was the house made crema. I'm not sure what all was in it, but it had a very nice mild flavor, a bit of basil, maybe some buttermilk even, but it was oh, so tasty. And the ketchup added the little kick this needed.
Next we shared a half chicken. The chicken is rotisserie cooked, and it came out right out of the rotisserie. The skin was nice and crispy, and the chicken itself quite tender and juicy, full of flavor. I had the dark meat and a bit of the white, and it was very good--even the white meat was tender and juicy. It was served with white rice, black bean, and plantains. The plantains were nice and sweet and the black beans were pretty traditional black bean--put over the rice they were very tasty.
We cleaned up the plate and got every last bit of tasty meat off those bones! And by the way, at $7.20, I thought this to be an excellent value.
We were done eating when Ricky checked in on us and as we chatted just a bit (and before he knew I was a food blogger), he offered us a complimentary slice of his house-made Salted Caramel Cheesecake. Wow, we were surprised, first by the offer (it was his last piece, he said) and then by the taste. It was superb! Now, I am not a huge caramel fan, but this was way good. The slight hint of salt with the sweetness of caramel and cheesecake made an excellent combination, and those flavors did quite the happy dance on my tongue.
I also managed to get a picture of ricky with his cheesecake. After we were done, we chatted a bit more and I gave him my blog card. I learned that Ricky immigrated to the US some years back. He started out in fast food and some chains, then went to culinary school. More recently he worked at several well known area restaurants. But his real passion is to do his own thing and when the opportunity to open in this Sanford location came his way, he jumped at it. It's a lot of work, he told me--long days, very long days. But he enjoys it tremendously. I'll say this, he sure had a lot of youthful enthusiasm and a passion for his food. If this first visit is any indication, the food he creates will certainly bring him success.
By the way, I want to go back for his pulled pork. While we were waiting for our first dish, he brought us out a sample of his pulled pork. It was excellent, tender, juicy, and with a nice mouth-feel--this was the real deal pulled pork, pure and simple. I can't wait to go back and try that as pulled pork is one of my favorite dishes.
Our experience at Ricky's Chicken was great. He is an outgoing and passionate young man and put out some very good food. I sure wish him continued success in this location. It's right in the heart of the Sanford nightlife area, and there is some competition, but it seems a great place to go for a bite or some quick take-out, even late at night. I highly recommend you give it a try, and leave me a comment below as well.