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Puerto Rico Cuisine Recs? (Sofrito)

c
carlywood Mar 20, 2007 10:52 AM

I'm going to Sofrito tonight with my boyfriend and I've never really had Puerto Rican food, per se.

Yes, I've had my share of churrasco, fried plaintains and yuca, but I'm more interested in some of the other dishes featured from the region.

Has anyone been to Sofrito? If so, what would you recommend?

Also, I've heard the roast pork with pigeon peas and rice is delicious. However, I have no idea what the flavoring would be for the roast pork and am especially dumbfounded by what a pigeon pea tastes like.

Any insight is greatly appreciated. I'd really like to spread my wings a bit.

TIA.

  1. k
    keith Mar 25, 2007 08:37 AM

    For VERY inexpensive and good Puerto Rican food, Try Gena's on 1st ave between 12th and 13th. Better for delivery, but the staff is incredibly friendly and there are some tables and a counter for dining in.

    1. t
      theannerska Mar 21, 2007 02:39 AM

      Not much help here either, sorry - though I've had pernil with pigeon peas and rice, and it really is delicious, not to be missed.

      Please report back on your experience at Sofrito - I've heard it's a rare gem and I can't wait to try it - great food at extremely reasonable prices for the location...

      2 Replies
      1. re: theannerska
        c
        carlywood Mar 21, 2007 06:59 AM

        Review of Sofrito: We had a reservation last night for 7:30 and the place was hoppin. I sipped on the Sofrito Mojito, a mix of rum, passion fruit juice, lime and mint. It was very flavorful, but at $10 seemed a little pricey considering the entrees hover around $14-$20. I had the pollo empanada and the boyfriend had the carne empanada. As someone else mentioned, for a fried appetizer there was no grease to be found. A little dry without having it with their sauce, but light and tasty. He had the chuletas (pork chops) with garlic mashed potatoes and I had the pernil with pigeon peas in yellow rice with plaintains. He commented that the bites of meat that had the seasoning on it were great, but the ones that were missed, rather bland. His potatoes had just enough garlic and butter to keep them on the lighter side. The portion of the pernil shocked me. I literally had a pig's shoulder sitting on my plate. The waiter de-boned it for me and I poked my way through some of the fattier portions. While I'm glad I tried something different, I'm not sure if I would necessarily order pernil again. It's rather game-y and I kept trying to draw either a barbeque/smoked flavor or encounter a unique spice, but as tender and moist as the meat was, it didn't have any sort addictive quality. Pigeon peas are very small and don't have much of a distinctive taste, however, they weren't overwhelming the rice, so perhaps I didn't get an accurate try. We skipped dessert, but I would have tried the tres leche cake, since I hear it's wonderful.

        Service was good, but the restaurant itself was extremely loud. The boyfriend figured it was because of their low ceilings. Either way, the only reason we were able to carry on any kind of conversation was because we were seated next to one another at a four top. Had we been in the long booth, there would have been a lot of shouting.

        For a boistrous group of people, or a date where you're not looking for intimacy, I would recommend Sofrito. They have a nice selection of food and the prices are reasonable.

        1. re: carlywood
          j
          Jorg Mar 24, 2007 07:54 AM

          Old San Juan is good

      2. l
        Lindy74 Mar 20, 2007 01:55 PM

        I've never been to Sofrito, but I can tell you that pernil (roast pork) is traditionally seasoned with a blend of garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, and maybe some other herbs, and sometimes a bit of vinegar. Pigeon peas are tiny beans, smaller than a green pea, and typically cooked together with the yellow rice.

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