There seem to be lots of posts on tonier restaurants here lately (not that I havent enjoyed reading them), but Ill get cheap and greasy for a moment and relate my latest foray into the Bronx. I finally had an opportunity to check out Sietsemas #1 Cheapo Latino joint from the list of 100 Best the Voice published awhile ago. Id passed by El Gran Bohío on East Tremont one night kind of late, but it was closed. Now I know why hours are from 8 a.m. 8:30 p.m. 7 days a week. (They must serve an ineresting breakfast too, mofongo and stuff.) It is currently called El Nuevo Bohío, a recent change in ownership that, from the little I could catch as the waitress sped to and fro (nice but busy, and Puerto Rican is not the easiest dialect for me), the old owner has gone to Puerto Rico and someone else who was involved took over. At any rate, it merits trying if you are a fan of lechón (roast suckling pig or roast pig, at any rate).
The window is full of succulent hunks of lechón. So I decided that was the thing to eat. I ordered it with rice and beans which were fine but nothing special. It comes with cuerito (the crispy skin) and a little bowl of garlic in oil to dip it in. The pork was truly yummy and juicy (no high-falutin' adjectives for this kind of down home place). The garlic was just the thing. If it isnt the best lechón around, its got to be close. The menu also listed guineo and yuca as possible sides. Guineo is boiled green plantain, and yuca is cassava (great when its fried, but also good boiled with some garlic and lime sauce). I had a salad which looked better from afar than it tasted lettuce, avocado, cucumber, onion, tomato, beets and peas, but a bit watery. What had my mouth watering were the tostones (fried green plantain slices) and there was a vinegary sauce on the table that I could imagine going very well with them, but I was alone and just couldn't eat everything. They have a list of daily specials that seemed popular too. I didnt notice them when I entered and besides, I couldn't have resisted the lechón . However, the people at the next table ordered chivito (a goat stew) that had a really tantalizing aroma with some garlicky kick to it. They also have things like marinated octopus. Maybe next time if I go with company.
El Nuevo Bohío
791 East Tremont Ave at the corner of Mapes Ave (the other end of the block is Prospect). Phone: (718) 299-4218
This is just east of Bathgate and kind of distant from the subway but the Bx 40 & 42 buses stop there. Take 2, 5 or 6 train to East Tremont stop. There are lots of shops on Tremont. The two fish markets I stopped in didnt impress me, but I did stop for an ice from a vendor at the corner of Tremont and Prospect. He had Bronx-made product, and the tamarind/mango swirl was the perfect ending to the meal. Its also fun to absorb yourself in a vibrant Puerto Rican New York neighborhood.