Monday, November 23, 2009

Margon

Margon Restaurant has long been touted as the best Latin place in Midtown. It's right around the corner from my building. So why haven't I been there earlier? No excuse really. I'm just a pure wuss. Afraid of the lines. Afraid of what to order. Mostly, afraid of looking like a noob. Yes, noob. But, my curiosity got the better of me and forced my normally weak self to go. Margon advertises itself as a Cuban restaurant. But many have cited that it's actually Dominican with its decorations and workers. To be quite honest, I don't know the difference. I've never really had authentic food from either countries. So I'm a bad judge. What I do know is good tasting food no matter where it comes from. Once I arrive at Margon, it looks old school. It wasn't really crowded yet because it was a little early (before noon). But there were several people already in line for the sandwiches (they're made closest to the door). Walk past them and you'll be delighted with a plethora of cooked food. What really hits you is the smell. A good home cooked smell. It's the kind of smell you would expect when visiting grandma's house (if your grandma cooked Latin food). It made me ever so much hungrier. But most of all, it made me so much happier to finally venture out here. I perused the counter a little bit. There were so much to choose from: beef stew, fried fish, roasted chicken, pork chops, chicken wings, pot roast, 3 kinds of rice, 2 kinds of plantains, octopus salad, and shrimp salad. Wow! And I know I'm missing some things here. I opted for the roast chicken ($8.25). It came with 2 sides: a choice of rice and plantains. Although the server asked if I wanted yellow rice or white rice, I asked for the rice with beans. He was happy to oblige. What shocked me in the good way was that he scooped the rice first then added the chicken on top. Then he went and dug in for more chicken. I thought he was going to put another one in my dish. I was nervous because the first piece was so big already. But I was wrong! In fact, he was just moving the chicken around so that he can scoop some of the delicious sauce/juice onto my rice! That's service for you! Lastly, he added some maduros. He didn't give me an option for the plantains but I could see that there was some tostones too. I think those are the fried then smashed then fried again kind. I think maduros are just fried once and unsmashed. I happily thanked the man and walked back to the office. I know I had a smile on my face. I was anticipating the lunch. If the place smelled that good, I can't imagine what the food was going to be like. I opened up the container and it looked great. The smell from the chicken was fantastic. I was secretly hoping to make my coworkers jealous. Yeah, this food is mine. All mine! I quickly dug into the chicken first. It was so incredibly tender. The meat was falling off the bone. No knife needed except for the skin. But if you don't eat chicken skin, you can just peel that away. But let me just say that the skin was crispy and super flavorful. If you're not watching your weight, this is a nice treat. Oh and watch out for the bones. This chicken is roasted bone-in. Not a problem for me. I think it adds so much flavor. But I know some people might be squeamish about eating meat with bones at their cubicle. Not me. No shame. Next, the maduros. I've never had maduros before but I've definitely had plantains. And this didn't taste right. I think it was undercooked or the plantain wasn't ripe enough. It tasted raw-ish. The texture was very dense and hard to chew. Not very pleasant. I wish I had asked for the tostones. Lastly, the rice. Oh the rice. So good. I think I might like the rice more than the chicken. It was so flavorful with the beans and chicken sauce. Oh man, the rice! All this food was only $8.25. It can easily feed 2 people. I, on the other hand, ate it all by myself. Why? Because I love to eat and I don't like to share. But mostly, I'm a glutton for really good home cooked food. And that's why I must work out like crazy at the gym. I'm sustaining myself enough to eat things like this. My Margon experience was definitely great. I would recommend it to anyone (despite the maduros mishap). It's cheap, the service friendly and fast, and most importantly, the food was delicious. I'll be back! Maybe for the popular sandwiches next time. Margon Restaurant 136 W46th Street New York, NY 10036 (212)354-5013 margonrestaurant.net

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