Restaurants & Bars 5

La Brujuena

Lill | Feb 6, 2004 09:25 PM

That name doesn't look right the way I've typed it. But I believe that's how the restaurant is spelled. Anyway it's a sit-down Puerto Rican restaurant on Division near California. I've eaten there half a dozen times, including tonight. Has anyone else been?

Unlike most P.R. places in Humboldt Park, La Brujuena has a liquor license and table service. It underwent a facelift a few years ago and is more attractive inside than it used to be. The menu ranges from a $6 jibarito to a $29 lobster plate. I haven't seen their wine list, and I don't know if they have one, but they do have beer and cocktails. Upstairs is a bar where live music can be heard several nights a week.

Tonight I had the jibarito, since it was fresh in my mind from previous posts on this board re: Borinquien. It was good in a very, very bad-for-you sort of way: pounded fried plantains with lettuce and tomato and onion, thin strips of steak with melted cheese and mayonnaise. Not exactly what I expected (especially the mayonnaise), but tasty. The side of rice was good, though -- it was filled with pigeon peas and pork. I also tried a shrimp pastilillo that was so-so (dry and relatively tasteless pastry, but the shrimp filling in a tomato sauce was good). My dining companions had mofongo and a piece of breaded fried steak the size of a dinner plate (ouch, my arteries hurt just thinking about it), and white rice with beans and stewed pork, none of which I sampled.

No desserts were to be had, much to my dismay.

I'm glad this place exists, because it fills a void in the neighborhood where there are few sit-down restaurants. But I've never been thrilled with the food there. My complaints in the past are that it everything is bland and either bone-dry or overly greasy, and no mitigating sauces or condiments of any sort are served. Tonight was a better than usual. My friends (both Puerto Rican) liked the place a lot and consider the food similar to home cooking.

2726 W. Division.


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