Heaping portions of crispy, garlicky, fried plantains; slow-roasted, succulent pork; savory rice and beans chased with a cold local beer or fruity rum cocktail, and that’s just your first meal.
Having the opportunity to enjoy authentic Puerto Rican food is a highlight of many visitors’ experiences. The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavors that visitors have the opportunity to indulge in. Some of the favorites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.
If it isn’t possible for readers to book a holiday to the island of Puerto Rico, then perhaps a field trip by car to La Grange is more feasible, because there you’ll find Restaurante El Jibarito at 4205 W Highway 146, which thoughtful viewers will recall as the home of the now departed Steve-O’s Italian Kitchen.
And what’s the meaning of jibarito (plural: jibaritos)?
A speciality sandwich of Chicago, made with flattened fried green plantains instead of bread, a garlic-flavoured mayonnaise, and a filling that typically includes meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
(Yes, it’s on the menu at El Jibarito.)
Writing at the Courier Journal, Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez has more: A taste of Puerto Rico: Restaurant opening soon brings something new to the region. Her article is for subscribers only, but here’s a small excerpt to set the stage for further exploration.
(Owner Maria) Melendez plans to serve all of the Puerto Rican favorites: mofongos (fried green plantain mashed with oil), alcapurrias (fritters), empanadillas (turnovers), lechon asado (pork), carne frita (pork chunks) and much more. She is also going to serve different types of rice, but she wanted to focus more on meals people can’t easily make at home.
And this, tongues planted firmly in all our cheeks.
She said she will also have tacos — after all, she said, she knows they are popular among her customers in Kentucky.
Current operating hours for Restaurante El Jibarito are 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.