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Jun 9, 2012 04:26 PM

Pleasantly surprised by La Lechonera Cafe

I live in Roslindale, and the wife and I were stressing over what to get for dinner, as the cubbard was bare so to speak. We wanted to try someplace different, and I was yearning for something like Cafe Latino downtown, and remembered that La Lechonera Cafe existed. Well what a nice surprise to find parniel in my neighborhood that is actually cooked over coals!!! I am talking smokey crispy skin, a smoke ring on the meat, the whole nine yards!!!! I came late in the day (they close at 8), so the yellow rice with pidgeon peas was not really viable, so I had white rice with beans, and the cook gave me a free piece of chicirone (spelling?) as he wasn't sure he had any crispy skin (he did!!!!). It really hit the spot, and the fellow preparing the food and working the front was very pleasant and appreciative of my business. I plan on coming back, any other CH try this place out? It's at the corner of Cummins Highway and American Legion Highway, accross from the firestation.

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  1. Thanks for the report, do you mean "pernil" cooked over coals?

    1 Reply
    1. re: itaunas

      Yes, thank you, my spelling is questionable when ethnic foods are involved! Just know the pork was roasted right!!!

    2. That sounds awesome - I am going to have to try it. Was the chicharron the giant strip of bacon kind with the crispy skin?

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsenada

        it was about seven inches long, 2 to 3 inches wide, crispy skin piece, reminded me alot of Cafe Latino's skin from the parniel, but the fat underneath was crisped a bit due to frying (as opposed to being moist due to being between the meat and the heat so to speak), a nice brown color to it, and very tasty, and not as aggressively salty as Cafe Latino's either (not a knock on theirs at all, you have to aggressively salt large roasts such as that, as the interior does not get direct seasoning, just an observation). I am told they cook the pigs on saturday, so I suspect quality by friday might be suspect, but saturday night it was great.

      2. DH, you knocked this one out of the park. I got the pernil last night at this excellent Puerto Rican hidden gem thinking that if they roast on saturday, it would hold up better than the lechon asado. It was great. Crispy skin, tender meat with enough fat to make it interesting. Better than cafe Latino, of which I'm a big fan. I got a pound of Pernil and a fried chicken thigh (meat was tough on this one) for $9. A steal. I didn't try side dishes. A couple got the lechon served family style while I was there and that looked amazing. Next time. Thanks for the rec.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gourmaniac

          Very happy to hear I was able to steer you in the right direction!!! It's great that you got to try some pretty nice pernil, and more business for the owners of the cafe, it's a win win!

        2. I finally got the chance to check this out on a Saturday night recently. Like devilham we got there "late" (6:15) and that was to our disadvantage as they send the cooks home reasonably early on Saturday. None of the white-board offerings were available, just what was in the warming case and most patrons simply ordered meat for takeout. They definitely win the prize for enthusiasm. I enjoyed the lechon, but it was somewhat over-spiced, the skin pieces were dried out as were some other parts (rear leg). I did get a really tasty piece of the chine bone with some tender meat on it. Next time I will pay more attention to asking for what I want.

          Yellow rice and beans was pretty dry and not very well spiced, but that helped with the pork. Platanos (green) en escabeche (?) with chicken gizzards were a standout and habachuelas were good. Fried chicken was greasy sitting in the warming oven and stewed guisado had fallen apart in the steam table so non-pork fans in our group had slim pickins. White rice was overdone. Overall the food suffered quite a lot from sitting around.

          They had a couple of pigs out defrosting downstairs (I didn't see them), so seems like lechon might be available Sunday too as that would have been a pretty large catering order? They also had a sign for a driver, which would be awesome if you leaved near by "please deliver 2 lbs of lechon assado" -- instant Sunday football party and you can use the leftovers for nachos.

          I general I like the "cocina criolla" offers as well as lechon better here and at Don Frito than Cafe Latino. Both I went to at apparently odd times (11:30am weekday and 6pm Saturday). The platano dish, better beans, and being less greasy along with service made this better than Don Frito, but neither executed quite as well as I hoped. However, I think if you hit La Lechonera when everything was fresh it would make any Cafe Latino fan happy. The pernil could also be a more consistent option than the lechon but its hard to pass that up when available.

          1 Reply
          1. re: itaunas

            Hi Itaunas: Glad you made it there. I enjoyed both pernil and Lechon on separate occasions but have not tried their side dishes. I would have thought that 6:15 on a Saturday would have been prime time but will have to try them earlier as the locals do.