While Ecuadorian restaurants are a dime a dozen in Jackson Heights and Corona, Queens, the situation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is a little more scarce. That being said, the options are top notch. In November, Mi Castillo Ecuatoriano was featured here, and now seven streets down 4th Avenue is La Carreta.
The space seems small, but is actually divided between three storefronts. The kitchen is off the main dining room, which has seven tables, while an adjacent room provides a handful more. An active jukebox divides the two rooms and competes with the TV which is tuned loudly to talk shows during the afternoon.
The walls are painted the color of a pool or possibly tropical waters. The restaurant serves beer and wine but the space does not quite set itself up for drinking. It does however serve an unbeatable lunch deal, which many people from the neighborhood come in for on a daily basis.
Go for the caldo de bola ($12, below), probably the best version in the borough. The bola, or ball, is plantain mash around ground beef, egg, and vegetables. This can be eaten on its own or sliced open to seep into the rest of the stew, rich and brown. Also find more meat, potatoes, yuca, and a wedge of corn still on the cob.
Seafood dishes here do not have the gusto that they did at Mi Castillo, so we recommend going there if you are in the mood for creatures not from the land.
An humita ($2.50, below), is Ecuador's answer to the tamal game.
Usually more simple, humitas often contain just cheese within the ground corn. The dish, despite being an appetizer, tastes quite sweet because of the corn and is very enjoyable. The last layer of corn husk is left on here after steaming, holding it all in one piece. In an Ecuadorian kitchen, you will often see a pot that has been especially designed for steaming humitas.
A plate of seco de chivo ($12, below) is also satisfying, a rich red stew of goat. Lean and fatty chunks are given and pair well with spoons of yellow rice. Try the homemade salsa with some of those bites.
The salsa is given with a freshly toasted loaf of bread before each meal. It is hard not to dive in and fill yourself before main courses start arriving.
Grab a glass of jugo de maracuya ($3.50) to wash everything down. They blend a whole array of juices and shakes fresh to order.