>> Eat the World NYC

27 January 2020

Congolese Dinner in West Orange, NJ

REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO 🇨🇬

So, for the sake of conversation, let's say there was a dinner invitation originating from West Orange, New Jersey that came with the promise of Congolese dishes made for the Congolese community and other interested Africans in the area. Customers were driving from the Bronx, Harlem, and all points relatively nearby to get their hands on foods from back home that are so rare around New York City.

This is obviously an invitation you should accept.

Chef Reine, who also goes by her childhood nickname of Lafee, or her Ghanaian husband Anthony will be there to welcome you into their home when you arrive. Officially, an invitation can take place on Saturday or Sunday evening starting at 4pm, but through later conversations about Africans and their relationship to time, this is more of a placeholder to let you know that things really begin after 6 or 7pm.

By 10pm, these floors might be shaking.

Lafee took the "scenic route" to becoming a chef despite a lifelong passion for cooking. After moving from Brazzaville to Moscow at 18 for university, four years later she came to the states via Ohio and then eventually lived in the Bronx where she remained until less than a year ago. The large commercial garage attached to their new home in West Orange serves as the main "event" space when they want to invite people over. Surrounded by colorful curtains and with enough space near the karaoke machine to dance, the space is perfect for hosting meals and providing entertainment.

She says, "Africans want to dance, eat, drink, and have a good time." This is what most conversations return to and what is the essence of the new operation. Chef Reine says she is inspired to eventually try her hand at some sort of business because of seeing a similar chef on Shark Tank get investment money and succeed.


Not knowing the rules and etiquette of timing, this first meal was supposed to take place at 5pm on a Saturday, but not everything was in its place and ready. Not wanting two people to feel alone in the large garage dining area, a table in the home nearer to the prep area was offered as the menu (photos on her phone) was perused.

From the moment you walk inside, hospitality envelopes everything. Anthony will bring bottles of water and offer other drinks depending on your mood. Both are happy and confident, not at all changed by the presence of strangers in their home. The TV will be switched over to some French-language African videos on YouTube, the kids from upstairs will pop their heads down the stairs to check out new faces, but after a few minutes it feels like being with old friends.

The River Congo, which forms a good portion of the border between the two Congos, and all of its tributaries are full of fish and has been a big part of the development of the cuisine for ages. Many freshly caught fish are grilled or fried immediately and eaten, but preservation also takes place in the form of smoking and salting. Makayabu, or saltfish, shows up in many places including two of the dishes ordered on this occasion, starting with the simple sauteed saltfish plate above that Chef Reine declared was her most popular dish amongst Congolese people.


By stroke of luck as this meal began, her sister arrived with luggage returning from Congo. Obviously tired after long flights, she did not look twice upon entering to see two strangers enjoying her sister's food and greeted everyone as family. By this time the dish she called bouillon sauvage (above) arrived, an okra soup full of both saltfish and smoked fish, as well as small mushrooms.

In both of the above photos, the pounded cassava known as chikwangue can be seen behind the dishes. This starch is cooked in banana leaves and cut into small pieces to be eaten with any dish. It is dense and chewy, and starts to fill you up almost immediately but is a pleasure to eat. She refers to it by the French name of manioc.


Last but not least was a plate of dibi (above), chunks of grilled lamb sauteed with onions. Lovers of West African cuisine from former French colonies will recognize this as a mainstay, but the dish has traveled to many parts of Africa and especially the Francophone nations. In Congo, the onion sauce relies less on mustard and vinegar and is sweetened by caramelization.

It is hard not to feel like the guest of honor by the time your belly is full. Coming early was nice if only for the chance to talk more with Lafee and Anthony, before they got busy when other invited guests would arrive and start to sing and dance. Maybe next time a later arrival will be selected though for a chance to get out on the dance floor with new friends.

**For contact info, please contact me directly through the social media of your choice.

🇨🇬🇨🇬🇨🇬
WEST ORANGE
New Jersey

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

23 January 2020

Ten Seconds Shi Miao Dao Rice Noodle

CHINA 🇨🇳
(YUNNAN)

One of the benefits of all the younger generation Chinese money flowing into Flushing and other parts of the city is a wealth of options for regional cuisines. In large Chinese cities with hungry and affluent people, there is a desire to eat the foods from all around the vast country, where regional styles are wide. These hungers have of course traveled with the newest residents, and new, sleek restaurants seem to be popping up weekly to cater to them.

One of the biggest trends of the last few years is the cuisine from the southern province of Yunnan, and specifically the rice noodle soup known as "crossing the bridge noodle." The original version of the soup is mild and subtle, without spicy or sour add-ons, and available here for $8.95. There are about a dozen other options for those looking for different tastes.


"Crossing the bridge noodles" (the literal translation) is the most famous dish from Yunnan and is known throughout China. There is some debate about the origins of the name and story behind these noodles, if you have a moment dig into this fun rabbit hole.

Served traditionally, a tray of ingredients (below) comes out while the soup broth is heated up. Sliced meats of your choosing, pickled vegetables, lettuce, and a quail egg make up some of the items that will eventually make their way into the soup. In Yunnan, rice noodles are eaten almost exclusively as the southern climate supports this staple over northern grains. A bowl of hot cooked rice noodles (below, top right) is brought out just before the broth.


In the name, ten seconds is simply a translation of shi miao dao, roughly the time it takes for your noodles to be ready after everything is combined. This chain operates hundreds of locations throughout China and this is the second in town after the one in the East Village. The experience there was fine but not thrilling, but here in Flushing all the tastes just seemed to have a bigger profile. (There is now a third location, also in Flushing further south on Kissena Blvd.)

When the bubbling stone bowl of broth arrives in this Instagram world, they will ask first if you want to do the combining on your own, probably an easier way of letting you take a bunch of videos. Let them do it though, and enjoy the beautiful presentation and process.


The cold blustery day of this meal required some spice and an order of spicy beef flank rice noodle ($11.95, above) appealed as the most likely to warm the bones. While certainly not the highest grade of meat, considering the price point the cuts of beef are decent enough. As all of the ingredients from the tray have disappeared under the lava-like surface of the broth, it is a joy finding them all later in the meal.

Importantly, the stone bowl comes very hot, which they will warn you about. This keeps the soup warm for a really long time, allowing for a slow enjoyment if desired.


Always a fan of black fungus with vinegar sauce ($4.95, above) a side was added, but the sourness of their concoction was almost too extreme. Luckily the crunchy pickled slices worked very well once added to the soup.

Sometimes restaurants on 40th Road can "hide" as the street is not usually part of any walk from transit, but next time in Flushing divert down here for the rice noodles of Yunnan.

🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳
FLUSHING Queens
Ten Seconds Shi Miao Dao Rice Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

21 January 2020

Mi Dulce Mexico

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(SINALOA)

The story of New York City and food from the Mexican state of Sinaloa is a short one. Most of it is wrapped up in the brief existence of Taqueria Sinaloense, which opened in late 2017 but was unable to last even a full year. It celebrated the western Mexican state with all it could, but apparently there were not enough people in the borough who felt the same.

Another taqueria in Marble Hill took the same name and sold chilorio, but it seemed straight from the can and was nowhere near as good. Luckily, for the time being, this slow-simmered pork that is fried with chilies has found a home at the very end of the menu at Mi Dulce Mexico.

This newly-branded restaurant is a new face to Veyla's Bakery Cafe, which has sat on this corner for the better part of ten years. Although passing by many times and seeing a decent gathering of satisfied customers, Veyla's never had that something extra to pull it out from the crowd.


A typical breakfast in Sinaloa would look like the huevos con machaca ($8, above) they serve here. Machaca itself is spiced dried meat, shredded and usually eaten with big flour tortillas, especially in Sinaloa. Drying meat was first done as a form of preservation, but the style is still popular even when unnecessary with modern refrigeration. While the process is usually different these days, the consistency and quality of the meat can be close to the original when the chef is good.

Substitute the standard rice and beans with frijoles puercos, beans full of pork fat and other bits. Making yourself little tacos with their warm flour tortillas and delicious homemade salsa made with chiles de arbol is a real treat. Initially the tortillas seemed handmade as well, but an inquiry revealed that they are purchased. Regardless, they are of very high quality and make a perfect wrapper, each plate is served with a warm pack of four.


As for the chilorio ($14, above), they do it just as well or maybe even better than that version that broke New York City back in 2017. First slow-simmered, then cooked in lard and fried with chiles, chilorio is unlike anything else and one hundred percent Sinaloan. It is wonderful to have it back and available in Queens.

Once again, wrapping it up in one of those tortillas is like a dream. It is such a delight that a Sinaloan chef has found a home in another kitchen. A return will be soon in the cards to see how that aguachile is looking, as the state is well known for the delicious seafood made freshly from its coast.

🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽
CORONA Queens
35-58 97th Street
Mi Dulce Mexico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

20 January 2020

Caleta 111 Cevicheria

PERÚ 🇵🇪

It is hard to imagine Caleta 111 in a couple months from now, after the predictable New York Times review comes out and this tiny corner space under the J train in Richmond Hill is bursting with humanity. Will the sea-blue walls be able to contain everyone hungry for some of the best ceviche in town?

The colorful walls are the new home of Chef Luis Caballero, who has previously cooked in Lima and most recently in Williamsburg at Llama Inn. He still wears his chef coat from Raymi, an upscale Peruvian restaurant in Midtown. No doubt he did excellent work at all of them, but he seems at home and completely at ease in his new Queens cevicheria, leading a small team in the execution of everything.


While small is definitely a theme that comes back again and again here, forego any open tables in the back and grab a seat at the bar. The kitchen is right in the front window, so all of the action is right here. But better yet, this is a guaranteed way to get involved, as Chef Caballero is a very talkative man and will make sure you are happy.

Despite having opened on the 21st of September last year, the restaurant still has that new car smell. Rhythms and moods are not established yet, they are still selling themselves to newcomers. Everyone is friendly, but by the end of the meal, the chef will have asked you about all your travels in Perú and any previous experiences with the food.


For now at least, the limited menu only focuses on the sea. There is no chifa food here, nor are there rotisserie chickens, but you will not miss either. Even the desserts which do have a spot on the menu have not quite arrived yet, although were promised soon. What is on the menu and what you will come here for first is ceviche, available in three individual ways (fish, shrimp, and seafood) and two mixes, one of which is customized by the patron if desired.

To get your taste buds kicking, a dish full of roasted Peruvian corn (above) will arrive before the main attractions. As you would in Perú, pair this with a glass of their house-made chicha morada ($4, not shown), by far the nicest in the city. This Andean-origin drink made from culli, or purple corn, is just the right amount of sweet while full of the tastes of fruit, cinnamon, and cloves.


For the standards of New York City, a place where you usually must spend ungodly amounts of money for seafood that does not seem old or from a freezer, this ceviche de corvina ($21, above) is damn near perfect. The thick chunks of of corvina, a fish found in the Pacific waters of Central and South America and beloved for ceviche, are "cooked" just right. Not too little, not too much. You could almost tell before putting it in your mouth how good it was going to be.

Chef Caballero's special sauce blend is sometimes served in shot glasses on the side, more as presentation than anything because the liquid would travel to other parts of the plate, but this ends up being a great way to eat. Some bites can be dipped for more lime tartness, some can remain more basic. Paired with pieces of a lovely sweet potato, crispy plantain chips, and big pieces of hominy, it is hard to go wrong. Even the seaweed garnish is from Perú, and delicious.



There is an option to pair your ceviche with either one of three seafood causas, a dish prepared with what becomes something of sculpted mashed potatoes, or arroz con mariscos ($21, above), which can in a pinch be compared to a seafood paella. Even the big, meaty clams are as fresh as ever, again requiring a re-grounding when remembering you are eating this in New York City.

Besides the rice, clams, mussels, octopus, and shrimp, the entire bowl is spiced throughout with ají panca, a deep reddish-brown pepper beloved in Perú. This mild punch is balanced with a bit of Peruvian beer as well, but the rice is still much less "wet" than most paellas.

The prices listed above are for individual orders of each dish, but the combos are a flat $35.

Chef Luis Caballero in his comfort zone.

As you can see with the logo, netting, a ship wheel, and serving dishes shaped like whales, the point here is to remain safely away from dry land. The maritime theme is duplicated on almost everything. Despite the J train rumbling overhead, when summer comes, the front of the shop is open to the street, and warm humid air makes it way to your table, life might seem like it is headed in the right direction.

Don't despair if you have found yourself seated at the back with those "premium" seats at the bar full. When the chef has a moment to spare between orders, he quickly makes his way back to hear from his customers, whether they be friends or strangers.

🇵🇪🇵🇪🇵🇪
RICHMOND HILL Queens
Caleta 111 Cevicheria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

14 January 2020

Yemen Unity Restaurant

YEMEN 🇾🇪

Sometime shortly after a 2016 article, the owners of what used to be Yemen Cuisine in Cobble Hill decided to pack up the business and start fresh in Bay Ridge. As Atlantic Avenue seemed to be less and less conducive to operating a restaurant, 5th Avenue in their new neighborhood apparently has no limits for more and more Yemeni and other Middle Eastern-owned businesses.

This address has went through a few changes since the move, first keeping the name Yemen Cuisine in English, then changing to a sign only in Arabic that said Yemen Wahdah. Wahdah means "unity" in English, and it is this name that they seemed to have stuck with, offering both languages now on their sharp new sign.


Despite being old and frayed, the old laminated menus from Cobble Hill, still with the address from Court Street, have survived and prove the kitchen is still making everything the same way. Stickers have been placed over prices to offer new (higher) ones, but otherwise the feelings of their friendly hospitality are just as they always were.

You can still expect a warming bowl of maraq (not shown) to arrive before all the orders, along with a salad. While the greens are just greens, the soup is delicious; a cloudy broth full of lamb stock. Squeeze just a bit of lemon in to cut it, and your taste buds will jump into action.


As before, some orders offer the chance of attaching what they call "cultural platters" to an entree. The salta (above) is $10 on its own and comes with their freshly baked bread, but was added to our broiled fish (below) for a total of $18 for the pairing.

Possibly the most iconic dish in Yemeni cooking, salta is a mixture of vegetables and spices heavy with fenugreek. It comes in a clay bowl still boiling, so be careful while scooping it up with the bread.



Listed as a breakfast but available anytime of day or night, lahm baltamat (above) is a sauteed dish of lamb with tomatoes and onions. For $2 extra (and a total of $14), it can be served over a bed of hummus, which seems like a no-brainer.

The lamb saleg platter ($21, below, served with a cultural platter) is a meaty hunk of lamb that has been spiced and boiled. The bones slide right out of the tender non-fatty meat. On this occasion the table paired it with the fatta (below), bread which has been soaked in a lamb gravy. As it did four years ago, the dish brought up Thanksgiving reminiscing.



The last order of the evening was a chance to sample something completely new, chicken gelaph ($12, below). This was cooked not dissimilar to the lahm baltamat, with a reliance on tomatoes and spices for sauce.

It is tasty but does not quite have the impact as most of the rest of the meal, especially since the meat used is just tasteless white cuts. For your chicken needs, stick to the lovely roasts and kebabs they offer and prepare very well.


🇾🇪🇾🇪🇾🇪
BAY RIDGE Brooklyn
6726 5th Avenue
Yemen Unity Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

12 January 2020

El Encebollado de Rossy

ECUADOR 🇪🇨

There are stretches of Wyckoff Avenue, of course, that you should steer clear of these days. A combination of dangers and threats from fixed-gear bikes chained to every surface; large, apparently unshowered and unshaven men in plaid roaming everywhere, and the ever-present risk of drowning in craft beer get worse the closer you come to Flushing Avenue.

Luckily as you near Myrtle Avenue, and especially when you cross to the other side, the ubiquity of women dressed like they live in the 1980's goes down, and the chances to find excellent food goes significantly up. One such restaurant to eat well and avoid the dangers of all these other things is a small Ecuadorian nook named for the dish it features most prominently: Encebellado.


It does not take a ton of people to make this thin space feel crowded, but on each visit here the restaurant is at or above capacity. The customers and staff give it a good spirit though, and smiles pervade. When you are eating well, a New York City-style cramming is that much easier to handle.

On a second visit, with an unexpectedly buzzing late afternoon crowd, this bowl of encebollado regular ($12, above) was tucked into and savored. The regular version of this popular soup is filled with meaty whitefish, cooked of course with onions as the name suggests. With maritime themes painted on the walls, it is easy to close your eyes and smell the Pacific Coast as if you were sitting in a seafood shack near Guayaquil.

Encebollado comes with a heaping plate of tasty white rice, but order a side of chifles ($2, not shown) for the full experience. These are thinly sliced and fried plantains that add a salty crunch to the meal.


Despite having the national dish in the name and hand-painted fish on its walls, the menu here at Rossy goes much further, offering just about everything you could want. Ecuadorian-style Chinese favorite chaulafan ($17, above) is a supremely savory fried rice made with shrimp and beef, topped with avocado and a nice long fried sweet plantain.

For those wanting a good bit of leftovers, this is probably the best bet, as the plate is gigantic and would be a feat to finish. You will not find light and airy fried rice like you might in Chinese cuisine. Ecuadorians prefer the dark and heavy soy sauces and plenty of meat.


It is hard to go wrong with the goat stew known as seco de chivo ($16, above), another Ecuadorian favorite that is done well at Rossy. Each bite is proof of slow cooking, the gravy perfect with spoons of meat and rice together. Another one of those delicious plantains curls around and offers a sweet respite when necessary.

On weekday visits during lunch, check out the daily menu, an economical way to eat a ton of food. On one visit, this plate of carne asada (below), served with plantain, rice and beans was all possible with a ten dollar bill. Tasty soups can be procured for even less.


The menu goes in many other directions, future visits will require an order of their bolones, mashed green plantains formed into balls and combined with your choice of meats, cheeses, and eggs. Judging by other tables these seem to be a hit.

Or maybe esperame en la cama, a type of encebollado that translates as "wait for me in bed." The addition of black clams and the insinuation of aphrodisiac might be all that is necessary to spice up your night. Let us know in the comments. (Please don't)

🇪🇨🇪🇨🇪🇨
BUSHWICK Brooklyn
El Encebollado de Rossy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

08 January 2020

Dubrovnik Restaurant

CROATIA 🇭🇷

While Bosnian cafes populate most of the city's boroughs and fancy Serbian dining is well known in the East Village and more rustic in New Jersey, folks searching for Croatian fare have been limited to the restaurants that grew from sports clubs in Astoria. Even there, the focus was on classic Istrian fare, which shares much in common with their coastal neighbors to the north in Slovenia and Italy.

It takes a visit to New Rochelle in Westchester County to find Dubrovnik Restaurant, a place focused quite a lot on the seafood-heavy diets along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. The "About Us" section of the restaurant's website aptly starts with "We miss Croatia," going on to talk about mothers grilling freshly caught fish and the smells from the sea.


The full prices are listed here, but do be aware that a weekday happy hour from 15:00 to 18:00 offers each and every appetizer at half price, a steal for the quality of food arriving. Before diving into the seafood realms, the Dalmatian platter ($14, above) offers a plate of prosciutto and smoked beef with a couple cheeses, olives, and Croatian pickles.

This is far from a normal plate of dried meats though, the smoked beef is especially satisfying, a thick cut perfect for placing on a slice of bread from the basket that will arrive with any order.


The plate above combined two separate orders, in the back were five large grilled jumbo shrimp ($16), with the grilled octopus ($19) in front. Both came with a nice char and the smoky flavors that you want from the grill, especially when combined with such high-grade seafood.

The shrimp are placed on a bed of savory cream sauce and accompanied by a few grilled vegetables to make sure you get a well-balanced meal. The octopus is thick and fatty and almost melts away in your mouth, barely seasoned with a bit of Croatian olive oil and herbs because it needs so little.


Another dish using the country's olive oil and fresh octopus, and a wonderful surprise was none's style octopus salad ($15, above) which was reminiscent of so many German-style potato salads eaten over the years. The soft potatoes are tart with lemon juice and wine vinegar, the mix also includes capers and onions. Grandma would be proud.

All of these appetizers were filling and deeply satisfying, and probably should have signaled the end of the meal for the two people eating it, but by this time the restaurant had filled up almost completely with hungry Croatians who somehow seemed to be enjoying dinner even more. The meal obviously had to continue.


After a bit of a rest, the pasta section of the menu was flipped to (on their iPad), and an order of teletina na lovaćki ($25, above), a type of veal ragu served with house-made gnocchi. At first it did not appear as much, but the bowl seemed bottomless and made already stuffed stomachs approach their critical points.

Tender pieces of veal in the savory ragu were just right as a counterpoint to all the light and fresh seafood, while the soft and porous gnocchi was the perfect combination to pull all these flavors inside.


It was with great luck that this meal had already taken place at the bar, as it would have required superhuman strength to pull these bloated bodies up to the high chairs from the dining room. The full bar here of course has a nice selection of Croatian wines and Karlovačko beer ($9, above), but also some spirits that can make your crawl home a little easier.

Desserts like palacinke, Croatian-style crêpes filled with ricotta and covered in the sweetness of your choice, can be ordered, but the end of this meal required a glass of Maraska pelinkovac ($9, below). This bitter liqueur is made with wormwood and many other herbs, has a sweet and bitter finish, and did the heroic work of digestion that was necessary.

As the restaurant owners desire, the evening from start to finish was a superb "portal to Croatia."


🇭🇷🇭🇷🇭🇷
NEW ROCHELLE New York
Dubrovnik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

06 January 2020

EL SALVADORin

EL SALVADOR 🇸🇻

For the past two weeks, the new Central American residents of Sunset Park have all been convening at it's newest restaurant, the oddly named EL SALVADORin, which adds a small "in" to hopefully make light of the fact that most people incorrectly say the demonym another way. But regardless of their intentions with naming, the restaurant stands as a symbol for the third wave of what makes the neighborhood.

Since the 1960's and 70's, Sunset Park saw its predominantly European immigrants replaced by Puerto Ricans, who populated the western portion of the neighborhood. A more recent wave starting in the 1980's but accelerating in the 90's saw this part become much more Mexican in nature, with families from the state of Puebla making up a big portion of new residents and business owners. Most people from other parts of the city still describe the neighborhood by these terms today.


Quietly over the past decade or so, in addition to a few restaurants here and there, Central American-owned businesses have popped up offering money transfers and other services, and almost every Mexican grocery made sure to stock the goods that Guatemalans and Salvadorans were looking for to fill their homes.

As Industry City attempts to mine the neighborhood for profit and give nothing in return except to those already privileged, Sunset Park's thriving communities continue to say no and show there is another way. EL SALVADORin is not only a bustling restaurant with an expansive menu, it stocks products from the country and coffees from the region.


Since the restaurant is very new and getting its feet underneath it still, many folks have been checking it out and bringing their families. The kitchen runs in linear order of when checks come in, so do give them some patience if you arrive just after a big group. This happened on the first two visits, but without any rush was no big deal.

Both of these meals of course required pupusas ($2.50-$3, above and below), available in almost any variety imaginable and in both corn and rice flour version. As always, these are patted out freshly to order, and arrive piping hot straight from the griddle.

Pupusa de arina de arroz.

No matter which you order, a small side of curtido, a pickled cabbage topping, and light tomato salsa will arrive along with your pupusas, a hint of how to eat them. Most Salvadorans will use each sparingly, letting the disc and its ingredients play the marquee roles, but no one is going to scold you for dumping everything on top before digging in.

As noted, the rest of the menu is ambitious and tries to offer as much from the country's cuisine as possible. Small plate appetizers, soups, large plates, and desserts all have their own section. Come in the morning to summon your true Salvi self for a cup of hot coffee and a slice of quesadilla salvadoreña, a sweet and dense cake (or is it bread?) made with cheese.


Weekend lunch time is perfect for soup options like sopa de gallina india ($13, above), a warming savory bowl full of root vegetables. You can ask for the hen to come on the side, a recommended decision that gets you a perfectly seasoned and baked leg to eat or add as desired.

Most plates will come with Salvadoran-style tortillas (seen in background of photo below), thicker than their Mexican sisters and almost like a small pupusa without fillings. These will line your stomach quickly but are a thoroughly enjoyable way to get beans and meats into your face. They come hot and fresh, but lose their character fast as they cool so start with them when attacking your meal.


Plates like salpicon de res ($14, above) are served with rice and beans or your choice of a few other sides. This "salad" of shredded beef, chopped onions, and tomatoes is served cold but perfect to wrap in those warm tortillas or simply alone with spoonfuls of rice.

Eating large pieces of meat is almost expected here based on the tables of others, whether in the form of a sandwich with thick slices of steak or chicken breast stuffed inside, or as a platter with rice and beans. Grilled shish kebab-like pinchos are a favorite, and grilled or fried whole fish can also be arranged.


In the mood for a simple plato típico on the second visit, carne asada ($14, above) worked perfectly and provided for plenty of leftovers as well. The seasoning and tenderness make sure you do not need any condiments, bites are best with or without a little rice and beans.

Many antojitos that share names with Mexican foods are found throughout the Central American isthmus, sometimes similar and sometimes very different. Flautas de pollo ($6, below) turn out to be quite similar to Mexican flautas with a thin tortilla wrapped around meat and fried very crispy.


🇸🇻🇸🇻🇸🇻
SUNSET PARK Brooklyn
EL SALVADORin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!