Revisiting a local favorite
3508 W. Sunset Blvd. (@ Maltman)
Phone: 323-668-0737 | map
It's exactly what a hole in the wall should be, comfortably close with flax-colored walls, battered tile floor, framed photos of Cuban scenery, and incredible smells coming from the kitchen. El Cochinito has a real feeling of old Cuban people coming by to sit and eat.
I like to get the Café con Leche, vigorous without being the caffeinated cattle prod you can get at Porto's or Cafe Tropical. With that and my basket of toasty, scratchy warm bread, I agonize over the menu.
The likeliest candidate for a cochinito coma is the Lechon Asado. It doesn't look too large, but it's more roast pork than citizens should be allowed, an eyes-rolling-back-in-rapture array of textural contrast. Charred skin connects the firm and toothsome to the fatty and lush, and it should probably be considered a sin. This is pork, and it is Cuban, and you should cancel your appointments for the day.
An innocent mound of arozz is available to soak up the dark juices of the frijoles negros, soupy and dream-inducing. Behind it all is yuca, or cassava, jumbled like the local Roman ruins; consisting of dense and crusted tubers not unlike potatoes or yams, they're reedy like plantains, with drizzles of green chile sauce. Combining all of this makes one a little lightheaded, head whirling like the fans above.
A really good idea is to eat half of this--if you can--and take the rest home, shredding the pork to put atop some bread with some cheese and some music*, followed by a nice afternoon smoking a Montecristo #2 piramide. Sigh. I need a vacation, and badly.
Continuing with this porcine odyssey, the Pan con Lechón... ah. Hm. A roasted pork sandwich where each bit of pork is falling away from itself. I keep eating this far after I pass my comfortably-full plateau.
Their buttery-sweet plantains are sweet enough to eat at the end of the meal.
For more medicinal purposes, the Monday special is the Fricase de Pollo, cooked in a comforting wine and tomato sauce that can probably hold its own with the yellow goodness of chicken soup. The dark meat is so tender you almost don't need to chew, and you search like a starving cat around the bones for chicken you missed. A baked potato stained golden adds weight.
Like El Colmao on Pico, you are typically rendered senseless afterward. Also, the neighborhood feels more comfortable if you're concerned about that sort of thing. Let us know you're coming by and maybe we'll trot down Maltman and join you.
* My recommendation, once you've gotten past all your Tito Puente CDs: Mongo Santamaria, Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo, Pérez Prado, Alberto Iznaga, and for some quiet soul, the Buena Vista Social Club.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Cuban, Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park )
|« Toi on Sunset||Hungry Fox Family Restaurant »|