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Jul 12, 2013 08:24 AM

Rincon Criollo 40-09 Junction Boulevard. Was so unimpressed. Nice atmosphere, food modeocre

A friend found this on line, and the write up here on chowhound. (


In my honest opinion, the forcing out of Cuban territory of the brothers who once had a restaurant in Cuba, may have been for reasons the cuisine they create is for a melting pot, and not authentic dinning.

The area houses many more Latin places that are exceptional. If one confines to this establishment, that is a shame.

The atmosphere is done up as the many Italian places are done up, indicating age from the black and white area photos of famous people who may have eaten there. But instead of Sinatra there is Tito Puente.

The food, mediocre, but they do a thriving business, due to popularity.

Popularity does not equate with quality.

I was displeased with all the food that I ordered. All dishes of Cuban cuisine. The beer was exceptional though.

Due to the US practice of strangling countries that do not submit to the US Hegemonic grip, I was unable to order Cuban beer.

I settled for Presidente. That is from the Dominican Republic, which was invaded by the USA in 1965.

There may be promise in some of the plates that contain grilled meats. I tried a tapas style with small dishes, and the chirizo, for one was like fatty vienna sausages, swimming in oil and grease.

The others were no more tasty than Boars Head cuts from the near by deli.

Upon exiting this establishment, I insisted upon staying within the location. We visited a bar that was operated as the sign read Ecuador/Dominican/Mexican venue.

That was much fun, even though none of us knew Spanish.

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  1. Not all Latin food is the same. There have been other, more recent, reviews here that indicate it's still very good. What did you have that you didn't like?

    8 Replies
    1. re: el jefe

      Well, if one is looking for some good dining with latin food, I recommend going to this areas places that 98 to 100 % cater to the locals who are from South and Latin America. There are places all around this area, that simply do up food for the working classes of the areas diverse south/latin population.

      I told my friend that Rincon Criollo may be a great place to chill with folks over wine and beer, as the atmosphere is great. That is for those who are not accustomed to the Latin / Mexican style bars.

      I have had better food at Cuban places in El Berrio, that are mainly frequented by spanish as primary speaking people.

      If one is going to take the trip to Corona, it is best to hunt out some of the more authentic place. Rincon Criollo feels as if one has not left Manhattan, and that includes the food.

      1. re: el jefe

        "What did you have that you didn't like?"

        as I stated above: "I tried a tapas style with small dishes, and the chirizo, for one was like fatty vienna sausages, swimming in oil and grease.

        The others were no more tasty than Boars Head cuts from the near by deli. "

        and on top of that, I had some fritters from an aquatic species the type with fins. That was good, but not impressive.

        Impressive food was found up the road on Roosevelt.

        I encountered a religious experience while eating a bowl of cow feet soup, and a chevichi of black conch. Of course, I was surrounded by non-native speakers indicating that this is where the authenitico food may be consumed.

        The place an Ecuador restaurant, that caters to the areas Ecuadorean inhabitants, primarily.

        El Dorado102-02 Roosevelt. This may be a sister of another Ecuador Restaurant in Boro Park. But thus stated, I may just be interpreting the colors of the Ecuadoran flag though, and missing the name.

        Highly recommend this place (El Dorado 102-02 Roosevelt Ave Queens.) A far superior experience than one can find at the Cuban place.

        The packaging of the Cuban place is good. It is just what one gets on the table, and the manner it is served that equates authentic and quality.

        1. re: jonkyo

          I dont think you had a fair experience of Cuban Chinese food from what you ordered. These are not tapas style restaurants - but places where the patrons order big plates of rice, beans, meat, yuca or plantains and such. I cant remember ever ordering an appetizer - type dish in such a restaurant. Why not try dishes like the daily specials (including such as ropa vieja, oxtails or bacala) or fried pork meat or chicharrones de pollo, and sides like fried sweet bananas, or moro rice the next time? I am not familiar with Rincon Criollo specifically, but these restaurants (certainly less prevalent now than 30 or 40 years ago) represent a genuine diaspora cuisine of cuban chinese restauranteurs feeding the cuban refugee population

            1. re: jen kalb

              Ricon Criollo is not Cuban Chinese at all. It's just a solid Cuban restaurant serving standard Cuban dishes. Other than that, I agree with you entirely. Their main courses and specials are the reason to go.
              With only 7 or 8 appetizers on the menu, it's unfair to judge a restaurant on that small sample.

              1. re: el jefe

                thanks for the correction, its good to know - there have been so few good cuban restaurant in NY in my lifetime that were not chinese operated that I jumped...

              2. re: jen kalb

                Of course they represent the diaspora of Cubans who were pleased with the take over by Batista, who's coup was planned in Florida. Hence perhaps this has some affect on food, because we are talking culture, and class.

                The items you mention are the main staples, so to speak, in Cuba and other places. It may have been better for I to have chosen such as you recommend.

                I was curious of the liver plates, that seemed to have two or three variations on the menu.

                My opting for a self designed tapas through choosing several appetizers is something I tend to due due to portion size in US restaurants. Their menu seems to follow this long established trend.

                That trend is expressed, but not fully exclusive to menus of Dominican and Salvador and further south.

                The Chinese Cuban venues you mention are different than Rincon Criollo. Rincon seems to be white Cubans.

                The Chinese Cuban restaurants represent of population that emerged in generations after the 1800s migrants from Guangzhou settling in the Caribbean. They married and had babies and made communities in such places as Cuba and Trinidad as well as Guyana.

                You can find great places owned by members of this population group in Brooklyn etc. They mix Chinese Guangdong (Canton) style food preparations with Caribbean, and even the Indian (West Indian).

                Thanks for the comment.

                1. re: jonkyo

                  I had recently come across E. Eto's praise of the arroz con pollo on an older thread (not the "special" arroz con pollo sometimes listed as a daily; the "for two" from the menu that takes about 40 minutes to prepare and is $24.95). I dragged my family there two weeks ago and while everything else was solid, that cauldron of arroz con pollo was a thing of beauty. Exquiite. And you had a lot of very passionate Italians at that table who know a thing or two about risotto and rice in general. We all agreed it was ethereal. Creamy and so so flavorful. And definitley worth the wait. Ropa vieja, vaca frita, rolled steak, etc were all very average for sure. But that arroz con pollo: Bam! Spot on.

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