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Jul 3, 2011 02:35 PM

The "Next" Place

I first waxed on about Alex’s Chimis last winter, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769178, and since then I’ve been an irregular. Day 25 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge returns to Jamaica Plain remembering that the Brendan Behan’s taps are just steps down Centre street from some fine cuisine of the Dominican Republic. Chimis or Chimichurris for long, are a most popular street food of the Dominican Republic for good reason. This super sandwich of the DR can be had at Alex’s with either meat patties (think gyro), roast pork shoulder (Pierna? Means leg but it’s a shoulder, Si?), and/or chicken served on a pan de agua water- bread then topped with chopped cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a creamy salad dressing and ketchup. Chimichurris share their name with the Argentine garlic parsley sauce for meat sauce,… not sure what the connection is.

In the busy storefront, mostly Spanish is spoken. The line forms to the left and there’s lot’s of “ Próximo”, “Next”. I like when it moves slow so I can imbibe and decide. There is no menu but a scan of the hot case tells you what’s happening. Rotisserie and fried chickens along with soulful side dishes are ready to go so with crudementary Spanglish and international restaurant gestures I make my wishes known. Today a Chimi de Pierna (pork), guineos (boiled bananas) and batatas (fried sweet taters), some carne frita (no way to resist the porcine candy), and the Dominican fried rice dish Cho Fan with diced meats, sprouts, peas and corn are all coming home. I passed on the pork ears and empanadas which both looked crunchy and delicious. I’ve had the yucca here before and couldn’t pass it up. The red pickled onions that garnish it are so good. The maduros and tostones were also winking at me, but I ignored them just to make them jealous.

There are fruit juices, DR Red Rock soda, and batido tropical shakes but the big Super Chimis pair perfectly with Morir Soñando which means “to die dreaming”. Made of orange juice, milk, cane sugar, and crushed ice it’s the perfect foil for the giant Carribean snack, a drink and dessert in one. (Although the flan is also very good.) Alex’s delivers but you miss all the sound and aroma. “Próximo”.

Alex's Chimis
358 Centre St, Boston, MA 02130

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  1. Thanks for doing these reviews. I've been reading each and every one.

    Roast pork shoulder is "pernil" not "pierna" although they do sound alike.

    7 Replies
    1. re: chefematician

      Are they just spelling it wrong? There is a lot of that. (Roasted Pork Showder) http://www.alexschimisrestaurant.com/...

      1. re: EATTV

        You know maybe it's called pierna in DR. I know in PR roast pork shoulder is called pernil.

        1. re: chefematician

          Actually what they are most likely serving is paleta from the fore leg, whereas pierna and pernil for pork both refer to fresh ham from the rear. The fresh ham is a lot harder to come by in the US and more expensive, plus paleta is easy to work with, so its a very common substitute in many communities. That said, cookbook writers and certain national journalists should be capable of doing a bit more research to clearly explain the difference. In any case, what they are serving here is a dish (named pierna/pernil) rather than selling the cut of meat so the substitution is reasonable. But Pork Shoulder is not Pernil, that is just incorrect. Pierna is less specific than either Pernil or Jamon (eg it could be a lamb leg, mutton, goat) so its better to say "pierna de cerdo."

          1. re: itaunas

            I think it depends on who you ask.I have no idea what sort of pork is being served at Alex's. However, having traveled extensively throughout PR and having worked with numerous Puerto Ricans over many years I can tell you with complete certainty that "pernil" refers to roast pork shoulder. At least, it does if you ask someone from PR. I realize that Alex's is a Dominican restaurant so they may have a different name for what is essentially something very similar. But to a Puerto Rican, pernil = roast pork shoulder.

            1. re: chefematician

              It seems obvious to me when you look at the entire cut that the're serving at Alex's is the bone-in belly. I didn't realize this was a point of contention.

      2. re: chefematician

        And yuca (a.k.a. manioc, cassava) is the starchy tuber. Yucca, a different plant, is a bromeliad.

        1. re: greygarious

          There is a lot of that (my bad).