The shrimp and fish stew at El Oriental de Cuba (Jamaica Plain) is magnificent. The bowl of rich orange buttery broth comes far too hot to eat. As with many great foods, it pays to be patient and to allow it to cool a little. The flavors are far more defined when the temperature drops a bit.
And, what flavors! The broth contains several decent-sized shrimp but they are almost besides the point. The broth is the star here and the co-stars are the silky chunks of red snapper. They are fall-apart-flaky and oh-so-delicious. There all is also a grain/rice/pasta present that I couldn't quite identify. There are tiny little pieces of it, and they carry the broth well. On the side is a crusty, toasted loaf of buttered french bread, the perfect (I mean perfect!) accompaniment to the divine broth.
This is a one of those peasant's meals that is fit for a king. My favorite sort of fish, perhaps. A dish that has made a definite imprint on my memory of foods in the Boston area.
All for $6.95.