Tried this new-ish Puerto Rican place in Columbia City, next door to a holistic veternarian and a cosmetology school. Very homely, family oriented vibe--the kitchen door has a placard that say's "grandma's cuisine"--with a smattering of decorative masks on the walls. My backgrouns is limited. I had eaten a little bit of barriqua cusine when living back east and had a bad experience, and enjoyed an improved, garlic heavy meal at La Isla, with lingering doubts about its authenticity.
The meal started dubiously with a probably pre-bagged iceberg lettuce salad with commerical vinegrette and a dinner roll from a can. The house specialty is mofongo, a ball of mashed-up chicharron and corn meal in broth served inside a wooden mortar...which tasted much better than it may sound. You can get different accompaniments for this, and we chose "fried meat", nuggets of pork marinated in a garlic sauce and cooked a bit too tough, but not terribly. The price for the dish was a bit high, I think about $12-13, with no sides. We also had a cod fillet pan-seared with a tomato and onion sauce which was flaky and properly rendered, but not remarkable. It was the little touches that tipped El Pilon in favor a return: the nourishing soupy beans with tangible herbs and the unabashed tomato based chile sauce. Next time, mofongo and chicken.
2320 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107
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