>> Reina de la Nube | Eat the World NYC

15 February 2019

Reina de la Nube


From the outside, with an awning that has long disintegrated away, the poetic and whimsical name of "Queen of the Cloud" might only be familiar to Ecuadorians and a few Peruvians with knowledge of the history. A sticker in the front window honors nuestra señora de la nube, a story that goes back to the 1600's when the Virgin Mary appeared in the sky above a prayer procession on its way from a village to Quito. At the site of this appearance, there is now a festival each year to celebrate the events.

Back down here on Earth, this little bakery and restaurant is popular with livery cab drivers and other Ecuadorians inspired by their weekday lunch specials, excellent prices, and quick service allowing them to get back in their cars and back to work. A shrine in the front has dolls to (I'm guessing) represent the Blessed Mother, and some patrons say a prayer and touch her dress on the way out.

Before any order, a small piece of bread arrives in anticipation. My server called it "pan de lonch" when I asked her about it, but later changed her answer to "pan de huevo" after some thought, egg bread. Either way, the bread is delicious, moist on the inside with dueling salty and sweet flavors.

Skip the tortilla de choclo ($2, below), which seemed like a good idea on the menu but was too dry to eat.

Something was also off on another visit for encebollado de pescado ($12, below), usually one of my favorite dishes. As orders of the daily lunch special seemed to be flying off the shelves, the wait time for my soup was quite out of the ordinary. A few patrons had come in after my order was placed, eaten, and left by the time I was presented with the bowl here.

I think I would have been better served if they told me it was not available, because what did finally show up was full of unfresh cubes of fish which I had to leave mostly uneaten. The flavorful green sauce and limes made the soup itself very good, but it was disappointing because of the fish. As always, shiny Ecuadorian rice came with the order and saved the day.

I suppose the lesson for the weekdays is to stick with the daily special and follow the locals during lunch. These prepared meals will arrive quickly and should be fresh.

The evening is a better time to explore the other dishes, as proved by El Cholito ($14, below), a combination of meats and flavors that can easily be split between two people. Fried hunks of seasoned pork called fritada are joined by steak cooked with onions (bistec encebollado), ceviche ecuatoriano, fried plantains, rice, and salad. In addition to the two pieces of pan de huevo, it was an all out feast for two.

Garb some sweet snacks from the display like this pan de coco (below), although do by vigilant about what is fresh and what is not.

Interested in drinking water that began as snow in the Andes, melted and then flowed through subterranean passages to acquire lots of minerals? They have that too.

Reina De La Nube Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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