Latin Kitchen NYC’s Huge Menu Includes Plantain Sandwiches
Even though they’ve been on the streets for just a few weeks, the Latin Kitchen NYC truck has earned quite a following. I’ve gone by a few times at 47th between Park and Lex (their usual spot) to discover a huge group of people waiting for food. I finally visited when the crowd was manageable and the food didn’t take so long.
Perhaps the festive Latin music draws the crowd, but I’m betting it was the quality and refreshing food. Sadly, Blend To Go, parked next door, barely had a line. It was bit tough deciding what to order since the menu is vast, featuring over 10 different sandwiches, a handful of appetizers, some specials, and even dessert. The truck proclaims that the Jirabito is their specialty so I settled on that.
But that’s just the vessel – you also get to choose the sandwich filling. So the sandwiches come with three different possible structures: jibarito, sweet bread hero, or flour wrap. The Jibarito is a Puerto Rican sandwich that uses large fried plantains as bread. Really, what more was there to decide?
Oh right – the filling. I picked the Cubana and I decided to throw in a beef empanada just in case I didn’t have enough food. The entire thing cost me $11. Sure, it’s above the limit, but it turns out the $8 sandwich would have probably been enough.
The empanada was decent with both crunchy edges and a soft bottom (no jokes please!). It was a bit lukewarm yet the flavorful peppery ground beef inside gave it some life.
I was quite impressed with the Jibarito. It kinda looked like a sandwich, but was very difficult to eat like one. Most of the components fell out when I tried to pick up the two plaintan patties. But the flavors were pretty delicious. Especially the tender roasted pork. I could have had a plate of just that and I would have been happy.
While this was a hefty and tasty sandwich, I did miss the buttery, toastiness of a true Cuban sandwich. It was also difficult to experience all the ingredients in one bite – especially the swiss cheese which was melted onto the piece of ham (as opposed to the bread), which quickly fell to the bottom.
That being said, this was still a hefty and tasty sandwich and I bet some of the other fillings (like seasoned steak and grilled chicken) work even better. Now I understand why the crowds have been lining up.
Latin Kitchen NYC has been parking on 47th between Park and Lex on Tuesdays-Fridays. But check their Twitter feed before you head out to join the crowds.