La Caridad -- What's the Deal?
On my way back from Fairway on 74th St. (the new area is almost finished), I walked by La Caridad, and to my astonishment, saw a huge line waiting to get in.
Why? My few meals there have been awful. Awful. What am I missing? Am I ordering wrong? What is good there?
And if everything is as bad as I've eaten, why is it popular?
so glad you asked. i, too, am curious to know what's
the deal at la caridad. in all my food conversations,
i've only met one person who loves the place...yet
every time i pass it, it's always crowded. my guess
is that 90 percent of the visitors are first timers,
who, having passed the place several times and
seeing it crowded, figured it must be good and decided
to try it, never to return again. the guy i met who
liked it insists you have to order from the cuban
entrees, heavy on the beans and rice. but the buzz has
been so overwhelmingly negative, i can't bring myself
to visit based solely on his (dubious) opinion.
re: eli bradley
I'm a big fan of La Caridad. I can assure you that the
bulk of the folks there are not first-timers (you don't
do that kind of business and expand the size of your
shop every three or four years with unsatisfied
customers). I've probably eaten there 30 times or
more, but I've never had any of the chinese dishes.
The Cuban food is all good, but basic. It's not haute
cuisine but is certainly tasty. But with La Caridad
you can't ignore the value factor -- you can fill
yourself up for $6. I'm particularly fond of the
Bistec Palomilla and the Arroz con Squido (or however
you say squid in spanish).
re: Larry Lustig
Larry--Sometime, I must give La Caridad another try. My experiences there have been an awful. I'm far form an expert on Cuban food, but since I'm originally from L.A., I use Versailles (on Venice Blvd.) as my baseline, and comparing the roast chicken at the two places is almost scary.
Why not take your six dollars and go to Kenny Rogers and have superb roast chicken in quieter atmosphere?
You are the first person I've "met" who has liked La Caridad. I figured not everyone there could be shills!
re: Dave Feldman
Somestuff at La Caridad is good (vaca frita, tough
chewy boiled and fried skirt steak -- don't know if til
you've tried it; fried pork chops; chicken with
peppers; and from the Chinese side of the menu,
celestial egg foo young -- hot crisp and soft and fresh
dripping with just a little too much cornstarchy gravy
YUMM!!! why did we leave all that behind?) and some
things are not. Their ropa vieja is inferior, and their
beans have never sent me. You get much better beans at
Floridita on 126 and Broadway.
What I like best, believe it or not, is the atmosphere.
It may have all the warmth and charm of a concentration
camp mess hall, but the whole world goes there, and how
mamy places are like that? Beside, my daughter, a very
fussy eater, thinks their yellow rice is the best in
the city, and if she's happy, I'm happy.
re: Alan Divack
I'm a big fan of La Caridad. The general consensus here is true -- stick to the Cuban dishes. I recommend grilled chicken with peppers and the pork chops. Yellow rice & black beans are excellent. Actually, come to think of it, the most underrated dish there is from the Chinese side -- the egg drop wonton soup. It's a huge bowl of tasty broth filled with big chunks of delicious roast pork and tasty dumplings