We won’t pretend to be experts on Puerto Rican cuisine, but we are experts on what we like. And we like what’s served at the small and unobtrusive, below-street-level ME Casa very much. The owners call the cuisine Puerto Rican-inspired, not Puerto Rican. The mofongo sure seemed like the real thing. Mofongo begins with green plantains, which are fried and then pounded with garlic and chicharrones in a mortar-and-pestle-like device called a pilon. At least, the best ones, like that served at ME Casa, use a pilon. The result, a garlicky mound filled with crusty bits, reminds us texturally of Thanksgiving stuffing. Choose your topping: beef, shrimp, or chicken. This is very easy-to-enjoy eating, Puerto Rican soul food.
Begin your meal with a plate of bacalaitos, thin, crisp, salt cod fritters served with spicy garlic sauce. That sauce is sensational! In fact, the sauces here are particularly interesting. Order a sampler platter of empanadas and you’ll receive a trio of sauces, a heady, creamy green cilantro one, a spicy sauce, and a sweet sauce. Carnivores will enjoy the pernil asado, a slow-roasted marinated pork, with crusty edges and a jus-like sauce to moisten things a bit. The entrees come with your choice of one of the interesting sides, such as pigeon peas with yellow rice, rice and beans, or the gorgeous yuca con mojito (drizzled with a garlic oil, not a mint/lime cocktail).
Service is sweet, and prices are more than reasonable. Know, also, that there is a ME Casa truck to be found in and around Jersey City at lunchtime. Check out their Facebook page for details.356 Varick Street Jersey City NJ 07302 201-706-2242 ME Casa’s Website ME Casa on Facebook