Like many New York Dominican restaurants, El Rey de la Caridad in Morningside Heights (973 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan–map) is best known for its rotisserie chicken, rice and beans. But if you’re looking to mix it up and still keep it cheap and filling, take a crack at El Rey’s mofongo.
For $7.50 your plate will arrive with a giant dome of mashed, fried plantain flecked with salty, chewy bits of pork. Break it down into a more accessible pile and then drizzle on the glorious brown gravy. It’s so good that when you’re finally done with the mofongo, you’ll be dipping the iceberg lettuce garnish into the cup and eating that, too. What you can’t see is the minced garlic that infuses its flavor throughout the dish. But you sure will taste it.
To be honest, I’ve never been a huge plantain fan (this may date back to the time I visited the DR; my host put a mountain of whole boiled plantains in front of me and watched me eat them, one by one). But El Rey can pile their mofongo on me all they want and it’ll never get old.