Restaurants & Bars 4

El Malecon

TastyLlama | Feb 10, 2003 04:41 AM

El Malecon is a Spanish place on Amsterdam between 97th and 98th. The gigantic pile of roast chickens in the window gives you an idea of what the place is about… informal, cheap, and not for vegetarians.

The menu is a little daunting, filled with chicken, meat, seafood, and sandwich options, not even including the extra page devoted to daily specials. Ten different specials every day of the week; I was there on a Thursday, and was therefore privileged to order Rabo. Rabo is stewed oxtail. Messy, and difficult to eat with anything approaching grace, but well worth the effort. It’s like the best cut of meat you’ve ever had, but locked up in twelve separate Chinese puzzle boxes. Maybe the effort makes it taste better.

The Mondongo, also a Thursday special, is tripe soup. The only tripe I’d ever eaten before was at dim-sum places in queens, and I’d never really liked it. It was too tough, the texture was too weird, and the flavor seemed off. Not so here. The soup was perfectly satisfying, and the tripe melts in your mouth. A good thing.

Especially good plantains too. I always like the sweet maduros, but they were especially high quality here. A big generous portion, served as a side with my Rabo. Like banana caramel.

For desert, they offer an assortment of cakes, but I went with the flan. Flan is good, and should be served everywhere… including gas stations. Because I said so, that’s why. Malecon’s flan was notably creamier than flan I’ve had elsewhere, and very orange. Great stuff.

The place is very informal, in a fun way. Checkered tablecloths, napkin dispensers, and they’d decked everything out with Valentine’s Day stuff. One gets the impression that they get a lot of repeat customers. Next time I’ll go on a Wednesday, so I can get ‘Pork Feet Stew.’

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