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NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

No.1 in the Rotisserie League

July 18, 1991|STEVE EMMONS

It's late on a hot weekend afternoon. You gather up your beach towel and head home, but after five minutes you realize you're starving.

That's great news if you're heading home up Newport Boulevard through Costa Mesa, because hiding in a niche between two downtown buildings is Orange County's mecca for chicken, the BC Broiler.

This tiny, eccentric place also makes burgers, ribs, tacos and burritos, but there's no question what the specialty is. In the window is a huge rotisserie over a fire with perhaps a score of no-additive, no-hormone chickens browning beautifully.

Cooking by rotisserie has gone out of style in restaurants because it takes so long, but one taste of BC Broiler chicken reminds you how wonderful rotisserie cooking is. The chicken is well done but tender and moist. It's hard to imagine chicken could be more flavorful than this.

But they make it even better by spraying it with lemon juice and garlic butter. If you can't handle the guilt, forgo the garlic butter, but it enhances the flavor so much even your cardiologist would order it.

You can buy a quarter chicken ($3.35), a half ($4.75) or a whole ($8.95). Each comes with hot tortillas and fresh salsa and guacamole. (Nothing is canned.) With these you can make wonderful chicken tacos. One taste and you'll never go back to El Pollo Loco.

The BC Broiler is basically takeout. There are a couple of tables inside, where it's awfully crowded, but now that the weather's warm, you can comfortably eat at the few tables outside. If it's a tad chilly, remember that the table near the rotisserie window is warmed by the fire.

Though 6 years old, the BC Broiler is the best-kept secret in the area, mainly because being set back between two buildings makes it nearly invisible. Heading up Newport Boulevard away from the beach, start looking on the right after you pass Broadway and turn in just before you reach the next street (Flower Street). If you reach the Mesa Cinema, you've gone too far.

BC Broiler, 1866 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (714) 650-8080.

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