Brasa Roja

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This casual BYOB in Irving Park specializes in Colombian-style whole roasted chicken (brasa roja loosely means cooked over a charcoal flame). Every morning the herb-, garlic- and white onion-marinated birds start spinning over hot coals in a custom-made rotisserie visible through the window of the Albany Park storefront, enticing passersby with sights and smells. Other options include rotisserie rabbit, grilled steaks and seafood, all accompanied by salsa verde and some combination of rice, fried yuca, boiled potato and arepas (South American griddle-fried corn cakes). Specialty desserts include brevas con arequipe (figs with creme caramel). The two dining rooms are bright and cheery, with Colombian knick-knacks hanging from the walls and colorful fish nets from the ceiling. Expect a mix of Spanish- and English-speaking familes, others from the neighborhood and a few Chicago cops (the true sign of any good neighborhood spot).