Maná Escondido Café - South End Puerto Rican
Happened upon these guys after a brunch at Gaslight and decided to poke my nose in to see how they're doing on day 3 or 4 of business.
Steam table up front hadn't quite hit its stride for the day yet but a Sunday constitutional mondongo was of course present. I grabbed a pint to-go and sat down to slurp a second brunch. A homey bowl of chopped tripe and trotters, the gravy is rich with marrow and a whisper of squash/pumpkin lending mostly spoon-coating texture, it's sabroso-sticky.
They didn't have a spare take-out menu, nor did they have much of the menu available yet, but they expect to get the website updated and have everything on offer in short order.
68 Aguadilla Street
Boston, MA 02118
Popped back in to grab a take-out menu and noticed a pile of pollo fried up nice on the steam-table.
More importantly, the one menu offering that grabs the attention is the jibarito - a Chicago invention, it's a roast pork, ham & steak (I'm thinking choice of said meat) sandwiched between two fried plantains schmeared with garlicky aioli, and likely lettuce and tomateos. I've only enjoyed this in Chicago and, while I'm not the biggest fan of this sandwich, it's certainly an interesting foodstory and a tasty one that has now made its way to the east coast.
I shall return.
The restaurant is located in Villa Victoria the heart of the Puerto Rican community activism in the 60s-70s. By settling in that neighborhood they had a better than 50% chance of getting a street address that refers to Puerto Rico. :-) And yes, they may have had to wait for an open storefront but its where Miami Cafe used to be and that has been closed for a while.
Eater threw up Slim's Improper review today. I'd missed the news that this place had even opened. There's been less fanfare than I'd have expected given the rarity of the cuisine within Boston proper.
Any other reports...? I've been hurting since Cafe Latino shut down and I plan on heading over ASAP.
Went here last night. My take on it:
- Pernil: better, moister and more flavorful than Cafe Latino's, but I too would like to see that awesome crunch in the skin. Latino has that, but the pork itself is on the dry and bland side, and really needs some lime juice and hot sauce to zip it up.
- Rice: decent but not as good as Cafe Latino's or Yely's.
- People: super nice.
They've got something really good going on here. I hope they get the popularity they deserve!