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Keep Houston Press Free
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$13 at El Rey

It’s time for another installment of $13, where we hit the streets and find out what you can get for 13 smackers in this restaurant-crazy city.

Keith Plocek steps up to the plate:

Where

: El Rey, 910 Shepherd at Washington, 713-225-1895

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What $13 gets you: A finger-licking, dog-choking rotisserie chicken ($7.99), a side of charros beans ($1.99) and a side of Mexican rice ($1.50) – all of which adds up to two delicious meals. When I walked in and saw I could get a dinner plate with half a chicken, beans, rice, tortillas and a salad for $7.99, I figured it couldn’t be that much more to get a whole chicken, since a la carte the whole only goes for $2.49 more. But Froy, the nice guy behind the counter, told me that would cost an extra $5.50, which totally would’ve busted through the $13 limit. Plus it just didn’t seem fair. So Froy smiled and worked up some numbers for me, calculating I could get everything but the salad a la carte for a grand total of $12.43 with tax. To wit: Froy is the man. And who needs salad anyway?

Recommended? Ubetcha. The chicken falls off the bone, the beans are extra bacony and the rice suffices. The spices don’t exactly inundate the chicken, but that’s what the salsa’s for (available in red and green). When you get a whole chicken they also throw in four flour tortillas, which are kind of doughy, almost like flatbread, and pretty damn filling in their own right.

I’ve got some married friends who feed themselves and their two kids on a similar combination, but their daughters are pretty young and I wouldn’t recommend trying to stretch these vittles much further. Then again, maybe I’m just a fat ass.

Bonus point: The second half is just as good the next day. – Keith Plocek

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