Uptown hounds kneel happily before the queen of pork rinds, a.k.a. Elsa La Reina del Chicharron. Best chicharron ever, says Jeremy Osner, who describes hefty hunks of fried pork with ample meat attached to the rinds–sold by weight, $10 a pound. Crispy outside, tender inside, they’re even better with a squeeze of lemon or lime, advises nobody special.
The daily-changing menu at this Dominican mini-chain ranges way beyond fried pork to include soups, stews, roasts, and more. Chicharron de pollo (fried chicken) and mofongo (plantain mash with chunks of chicharron, spiked with garlicky-vinegary sauce) are also excellent.
Speaking of fried chicken, they do it really well at El Mundo in Washington Heights–“a crispy, garlicky masterpiece of a bird. Trace of vinegar in there, too,” reports Polecat. This Dominican lunch joint also lays out a steam-table spread including longaniza, mofongo, bistec, rice, beans, and sancocho (meat stew).
Elsa La Reina Del Chicharron [Inwood]
4840 Broadway, at Academy St., Manhattan
Elsa La Reina Del Chicharron [Washington Heights]
1249 St. Nicholas Ave., between 172nd and 173rd Sts., Manhattan
Elsa La Reina Del Chicharron [Bronx]
1A E. 183rd St., at Jerome, Bronx
El Mundo Fried Chicken [Washington Heights]
4456 Broadway, at Fairview Ave., Manhattan