Really, that’s what I was hoping for. We leave for vacation, to the Caribbean, in less than a month. Vacation is over so quickly that the anticipation is just as much part of the excitement.
Yesterday the sun was beating down the last of winter’s chill and I heard there was outdoor seating at Sofrito Gastro Pub. It seemed like it was finally time to give it a try.
When dining out at a new location I try to keep expectations low. Often everyone has an opinion which might not be in my taste or they are business generated reviews. A glossy magazine photo or article doesn’t mean good food just a pretty picture and not a reflection of what’s in the owner’s heart. I say that because some food is what we are being sold vs passion on a plate. That’s what you can’t taste in a magazine’s pic….passion and integrity.
We tasted it at Sofrito. Fresh. Clean. Generous portions. Lively ambiance. The wafting scent of garlic, blackened meats, and simmered pork. Teased with glasses full of fresh mint mojitos or green margaritas it was a Corona Light with lime that started the night…an IPA for Dan.
The menu is uncomplicated. In the 4 small panels the options were varied enough to please vegetarians and meat eaters alike. What to do on your first visit? Put it out there on facebook and, in phoebe style, ask the folks at the table next to you, who look like it is not their first time at the Sofrito’s rodeo, what they suggest.
It seems the mango chicken quesadillas are the hottest thing on the menu and it’s what caught Dan’s eye, so he went with it. It was mini fish tacos I have been craving, to create that caribbean mood, and it was the trio of soft shell tacos that I settled on, fish, pork and chicken. Uh, the order of tostones were a no brainer.
While waiting for dinner we enjoyed the chicken empanadas. With a small soup or salad it would make a filling meal. Doughy enough to be a mouthful but flaky enough to have just the right amount of crunch without being greasy. When cut in half the chicken breast was seasoned with some kind of chimichurri sauce and there was just enough room to stuff in the über fresh pica de gallo.
We devoured the 2 empanadas, washed them down with beer while soaking in the sun and the gorgeous mural.
Can you feel the island breeze and bronzing sun as you devour the picture with your eyes? I can.
Dinner was everything it was built up to be. I will tell you that one normal woman could maybe eat 1/2 to 1/4 of the quesadilla. Dan enjoyed it and let me sneak a bite. Love the heat and spice in the chef’s blackened chicken, the sweet of mango and gooey salty cheese. mmmm….
The tostones came with seasoned dipping sauce complimenting the slightly sweet plantains. The taco trio was a perfect portion. The fish was batter friend with a cream sauce and lettuce, nice. The pork and chicken soft shell tacos were served with pico de gallo. If I was not too busy getting these into my mouth and keeping the juices from running down my arm I would have been doing a happy dance. (no, I don’t dance…but I might just try to bust a move for these soft shell tacos).
globally inspired, locally created. Thank you, Hector. What you do is simple and magnificent. For under $50 we had an experience that is unsurpassed. Can taste the love in your food, see the pride you have in the ambiance of the deck, bar and dining area. I know where we will be more often… especially after holiday when we need to take ourselves back to the crystal blue waters and the taste of the caribbean but in our own backyard of Reading! And you tucked it all right into a brown, unassuming building. Man, you just ROCK!