SOFRITO – An Authentic Taste of Spanish Harlem’s Food, Flavor & Fun All In One!
I had dinner at my favorite New York Latin American restaurant SOFRITO a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been grappling on whether or not I should save them as April’s upcoming Restaurant of the Month, but I took another look at the pictures yesterday, and knew I could not wait another day to fill you in on the goodness and greatness of this lively and snazzy restaurant where Manhattan’s uptown flavor meets downtown’s glamour, without skimping on the authentic Spanish Harlem feel!
Located at 400 East 57th Street, the Puerto Rican influence, music, people, and energy permeate throughout Sofrito, without the danger and grittiness of crossing 96th Street. Sofrito offers charisma and sex appeal with a bevy of beautiful people in skin-tight designer apparel, made up faces, and major street swag clamoring for drinks, waiting for tables or even servicing the patrons. Everyone at Sofrito exudes temptation. Hip-hop stars and Hollywood actors have frequented the midtown location (there’s also a Sofrito White Plains), to dine over signature rice dishes while Big Pun blares from the speakers and, and aromas of garlic and onions seep from the kitchen.
All five senses go into overdrive at Sofrito, and that’s before even glancing at the menu! Relax in one of Sofrito’s luxe white booths and take a look at the extensive list or the plates at nearby tables, and get a glimpse of heaven. Gumbos, Codfish Salads, Empanadas, stuffed potatoes, ribs, chorizo, and corn fritters are all on the starter portion alone! Then there’s chicken and rice, pork skins, beef stew, shrimp scampi, red snapper, steak and plenty of plantains!!
The other night, we started with the calamari, and to be honest, it was a bit crispier and harder than I would have liked, but it was tasty nonetheless.
The entrees were served with blinking swiftness, and with gratitude and thirst, we devoured our bountiful plates loaded with fluffy rice, roasted pork, jumbo shrimp, and tostones (crispy / fried green plantains … the sweeter ones are called maduros). Drenched with sauces and seasoned with vigor, the meals were hot, fragrant and a pleasing mix of texture and flavors.
The pork was tender and juicy, the tostones were fresh and plentiful and the shrimp were robust and meaty! I love a visit to Sofrito! They are consistent with their hospitable service, energetic environment, and lavish recipes that are sure to provide a toe-tapping, belly-rubbing good time.
Such an experience does come with a downside. Sofrito is so popular, it is usually packed with people which could mean waiting an hour or more for a table, getting your toes stepped on walking to the bathroom, and almost impossible to get to the bar. But go with an extra $20 or $50, tip the manager and/or hostess and you’ll be taken care of. Keep in mind, the prices can get steep at Sofrito. Appetizers range $7-$17, while entrees can go anywhere from $14 to $47. All extra sides are $7 as of 2013.
If you can save room after downing the hefty meal portions at Sofrito, there’s also desserts that are equally delicious! I am posting these, but didn’t try them all. But hopefully they’ll provide you with more insight as to the type of food you can get at Sofrito.
Speaking of desserts, Sofrito does the best and most vivacious rendition of Happy Birthday I’ve seen at a restaurant! Go for a celebration, as Sofrito is that kind of place! It’s hip, it’s live and it’s all kinds of fun!
I love Sofrito and go whenever I have the chance. If you’re in NYC, make sure you check it out. It’s great for dates, friends and a night on the town! Whatever reason you choose to go, just make sure you do in your salsa shoes!