El Nuevo Ambiente is a raucously popular Dominican hangout, and idlerat can see why. As a friend observed after sampling the homey chow, “someone’s grandmother made this.”
The food changes daily, so skip the menu and just ask what’s cooking. On any given day, that might include a superior chivo guisado (goat stew), spicy, hearty, and enriched with ground olives. Maduros (fried sweet plantains) are a must-order: “They will make you fat and happy,” idlerat promises. The cryptically named “fish with sauce” might mean any kind of fish and any kind of sauce; idlerat rolled the dice and came up with a winner: a snapperlike fish in buttery orange sauce with peppers and garlic. Also recommended: pork chops, shrimp in garlic sauce, bacalao (salt cod), and pernil (roast pork), excellent with white rice and a squeeze of lime.
Even the leftovers are put to delicious use. Any of the above might wind up tossed with rice. Once, idlerat recalls, “I was given just an exquisite dish of leftover rice fried with peas, onions, lots of good stuff, with crunchy bits that had stuck to the pan- man I wish that was always on the menu.”
El Nuevo Ambiente [Inwood]
4986 Broadway (near W. 211th Street), Manhattan
Board Link: Inwood: El Nueva Ambiente and others