Abuela's Cocina | 1762 1st Ave. (Bet. 91st & 92nd Sts.), Manhattan | 917.492.1790 | no website

LUCKY ME! AFTER SOLICITING MY Facebook friends to recommend a decent Latin restaurant where I could enjoy some real homestyle roast pork with rice and beans, I get inundated with suggestions located all over the city (and Hoboken!).

But after some remedial research on MenuPages, I was surprised to find a place—one of only two—situated in my neighborhood of Yorkville. It's a placed called Abuela's Cocina, and I was even more excited by the prospect of their food's authenticity by the listing of items such as stewed goat on their menu.

So I took the quick 7 minute walk to 1st Avenue and 91st Street and was humbly greeted by the restaurant's innocuous marquee.

The inside of the place was small. Really small. It could only fit two 2-tops, and both were full at the time. I stepped to the counter where they had hot plates of various stewed meats, beans, veggies, and rices. After informing me that that no longer carried the goat meat—due to its escalating price—I went with what I wanted for over a week: roast pork with yellow rice and beans.

Yep, this was the type of international comfort food I was looking for, reminding me of the dishes my Puerto Rican babysitter made for my when I was a young child, and of the restaurants I used to go to with my dad in the Dominican-rich neighborhood of Washington Heights. Tasty, juicy, peppery, salty, tender, crispy roast pork on a bed of firm, aromatic yellow rice with a side of nicely seasoned beans.

The portion was definitely dinner size, as I couldn't even finish it, and the real deal is that, with a can of ginger ale, the total bill was five bucks!

I probably would have found more solace in that if they had bothered cleaning the table after the last customers before I sat down. Or if one of the workers didn't just plop his coat on the empty chair at my table—without asking—to rearrange his scarf. Or if the display case didn't show its chilled items in slight disarray. Or if the young kid who came out of the kitchen wasn't retrieving a shopping cart from the middle of the small room.

This is obviously a place meant to order delivery from; paying attention to laissez-faire attitude of the peripheral workers could be an appetite killer. But the women who was cooking and serving the food was all business—and a native Puerto Rican, not some other ethnicity recently taught how to cook this food—so although I will prefer to not make the trip and just order delivery when I'm in the mood for some Latin cooking again, I won't hesitate to call the also suspiciously "917"-area coded business phone number they are listed under

Bun Apple Tea!


Abuela's Cocina | 1762 1st Ave. (Bet. 91st & 92nd Sts.), Manhattan | 917.492.1790 | no website