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Apr 11, 2010 05:52 PM

Mofongo's - Puerto Rican in North Hollywood

Ever since a trip to Florida several years ago, I’ve been searching for mofongos here in LA….with no success. So when I saw the sign “Mofongo’s” I had to stop.

It’s pure New York-Puerto Rican.

It’s small, with only 20 seats inside and another 4 on the sidewalk. The server (owner?) arrived from NY 8 months ago and speaks Spanish to all the guests. And there’s a 4x6 foot mounted photo of Manhattan on the wall.

It’s also adorned with Puerto Rican flags on the walls, as well as on all the tables.

The menu has lots of Puerto Rican dishes, but I was there for the mofongo.

A mofongo is a mashed green (not sweet) plantain that’s shaped into a little cake. In this case, it’s made into a little cup and the center is filled with a stew.

What’s interesting about Mofongo’s version is that they mix the mashed plantain with cracklins. You can have either pork or chicken cracklins. This adds occasional very interesting crunchy, salty bites as you make your way through the dish. I chose the pork cracklins.

The chicken stew filling is replete with green olives, tender, stringy chicken and sauce. There is also sauce on the plate around the mofongo. But it’s still a relatively dry dish that would benefit from a little more sauce. Thankfully, on each table is a bottle of Tabasco sauce that springs to the rescue.

It’s served with your choice of tostones or maduros, both variations of plantains. The tostones are savory and fried, while the maduros are sweet and not fried. I chose the tostones, which were tasty but also needed some sauce.

The horchata is unusual in that it’s made with sesame. So instead of the spicy-cinnamon flavor normally associated with this drink, there’s a very refreshing sesame flavor, and sesame seeds as well. I really like sesame, so I really liked this.

Judging from the fact that it was full on a Saturday afternoon at 3:00, and that everyone spoke Spanish or was a recent NY transplant, it appears to have garnered a nice clientele of ex-NYPR’s.

5757 Lankershim Boulevard (N of Burbank Bl.)
North Hollywood
(818) 754-1051

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  1. I have been looking for a place that serves Mofongo for years after my first visit to Puerto Rico! I wonder if they have Asopao? It was this seafood stew that I totally fell in love with, Awesome review.. I also found this other one Puerto Rican Restaurant.

    Senor Big Ed
    5490 Lincoln Ave
    Cypress, CA 90630
    (714) 821-1290

    Senor Big Ed
    5490 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630

    1 Reply
    1. re: karynx78


      Asopao isn't necessarily seafood. It just the way rice is prepared in a rissotto-like fashion. I grew up on the stufff. Senor Big Ed is OK but Ireally don't like their pasteles. All meat and no little treasures like prune or Spanish olives like mom and my Titi Betine used to make.

      Senor Big Ed
      5490 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630

    2. Any respectable mofongo should have chicarrones mixed into the mashed plantain and should be sitting in a "soup" of sauce.

      I'll give the place a try soon, but I'm concerned because everything sounds like it's too dry. The maduros should be once fried, but I will take oven-baked in a pinch...though it's not the same.

      6 Replies
      1. re: annapurna7

        It is sitting in sauce, at least it was when I was there. I feel that for those looking for Puerto Rican food have few options, and it's great that Mofongo's is here. The cooking and seasoning needs improvement, not bad at all, but could be better with a bit of adjusting.

        I had a nice time there but haven't been back. Will give it a try again sometime.

        1. re: annapurna7

          Agreed annapurna any real mafongo needs chicarronnes mixed in. Though I have had it sans sauce or soup from street vendors in Puerto Rico when visited relatives as a child. And I recall it was plenty moist from the fat in the chicarronnes.

          1. re: SeaCook

            You're right, but they make it greasy enough to compensate for the dryness of the platanos. I actually had a mofongo without sauce recently in Pinones. I ate it with an ensalada de carrucho among other antojitos.

            That said, I'm glad to see more PR restaurants showing up here.

            1. re: annapurna7


              Where and what is Pinones?


              1. re: SeaCook

                It's a beach-side neighborhood just east of the San Juan airport in Puerto Rico (actually spelled Piñones). They are famous for their rows of kioskos along highway PR-187 heading to Loiza. They really specialize in cuchifritos, such as bacalaitos, arepas, alcapurrias, piononos, etc..

                I wish that there were stands (or trucks!) selling these type of foods here.

                1. re: annapurna7

                  OK. I think I may have visited it when I was there when I was 12 years old. I seem to remember rows of food stalls selling delicious things ike the bacalaitos. One of the few fish dishes I like. Thank you for bring back a fond memory. :-)

                  I too wish there stands or trucks selling that wonderful Puerto Rican street food.

        2. TABASCO SAUCE! That's a big no no in Puerto Rican food! That stew should have stood on its own through proper seasoning. Really Purto Rican food is not like a lot of mainland Latin American food. There is no hot chili used. There is something that looks like a Scotch Bonnet but it has very little heat.

          I gre up with Purteto Rican food and learned how to cook it from some really good cooks. I would like to try this place myself when I can get out to North Hollywood and see if it up to snuff.