Tuesday, November 24, 2009

El Papasito

After we turned in the keys to our Chelsea apartment, we stayed at the Holiday Inn on West 57th for our last two nights in New York City. We recommend this hotel if you're on a budget but want something in a good location (it's in easy walking distance to Central Park). We were able to get a special rate of $150 per night, which is unheard of for a last minute reservation and for the area, and our room was extremely spacious and clean. Thanks Erika for the recommendation! There's a decent amount of dining options along 8th Ave., but we bypassed them all and headed to El Papasito instead (346 West 53rd Street between 8th and 9th avenue). And yes, this dark photo was taken with flash.

It's wasn't a good sign when we walked in and we were the only customers on a Friday night at 8:30 PM in New York City, especially since we just walked past dozens of crowded restaurants where people were waiting to get in through the doors. But for some reason, part fatigue and part a desire to try (Dominican) cuisine we didn't think we could find as easily in the Northwest, we were dead set on eating at El Papasito.

Their big menu selection includes: Mofongo with Spanish Sausage, paella, lobster salad, pigeon peas gumbo soup, creole gumbo, tripe soup, hot oxtail, goat stew, pig feet with chick peas, Dominican fried pork, baked chicken, pickled fish, liver steak, and Codfish stew. One of the entrees we ordered were pepper steak, served with plantains and yellow rice, all for $10. Everything on this plate was good, we especially liked the plantains, but nothing to rave to your friends about.

The other entree we ordered was the Dominican-style spaghetti, $9. We ordered this because we love spaghetti and wanted to see what made this "Dominican style." What made this different was the spicy kick and it consisted of cilantro, olives, and red peppers. Eh, it wasn't earth shattering but it was satisfying. A good dish to try recreate at home.

We decided to skip their desserts, which included papaya chunks with cheese, coconut custard, and flan, because we got our sweet fix from their pitcher of Sangria, which was just too Kool-Aid sweet for our taste. A really loud blues band came in to play right in front of the opened restaurant doors, probably to try to draw in some customers. It didn't work. There was only one other customer besides us the whole time we were there.

However, their delivery business seemed to do much better and we understand why. The food is pretty good but the dining experience sucked. If this restaurant was in our neighborhood, we would definitely have breakfast or lunch delivered, especially since they have $6 lunch specials and $3 to $5 breakfast specials. Our waiter was nice, but very slow, inexcusable because there were no customers. The other workers were sitting around watching sports on T.V. The interior could use a makeover (first thing, please take down the collage of soccer players). And although we like Blues, perhaps playing Merengue or Bachata would be more fitting.