Bronx Eats: A Few Steps from Yankee Stadium, Pernil Sandwich and Tostones at Molino Rojo
The food at Molino Rojo, a Dominican steamtable conveniently located right off the 161st Street stop, won't blow you away. But you will leave satisfied, so long as you order right. And for those running late to the game, for whom a diversion up to Nano Billiards would prove too time consuming, Molino offers a decent alternative.
When writing about eats nearby Yankee Stadium in the past, Bronx Eats has tended towards heartier meals like the West African stews of Bate. Until last week, when we spotlighted the patties and carrot cake at Concourse Bakery, we hadn't always kept portability in mind. Those who want to sit down will find Dominican dishes like mangu at breakfast time, baccalao salad with sides including maduros or rice and beans, and the ever-alluring pulp al ajillo. But for fans looking to get real boozy for the Blue Jays series, and who want a meal that's portable and none too messy, may we suggest a pernil sandwich?
Roasted pork shoulder ($8.50 for a plate) is chopped, loaded on a sliced hero, and then put into a sandwich press. Various condiments are offered, but we like to keep ours simple: skip the lettuce and tomato, but don't forget to ask for some mojo de ajo (garlic sauce). Mayonnaise is suggested, though I find it unnecessary, as the pork is mostly moist and flavorful. The press, which takes several minutes, fuses the pernil and mojo for a wallop of flavor that will have you craving seconds.
While you might find yourself wondering, as I did, what heights our sandwich could reach with a crusty baguette, it's better to just stuff your face. Ignorance is bliss, and it's not that the bread is bad so much as it lacks personality. Molino's pernil isn't the best in the borough—for that you'll have to head to Lechonera La Pirana in Mott Haven—but I found it to be much better than most of the dried-out stuff you'll find. Its comparable, too, to the well regarded if overrated El Nuevo Bohio.
To complete your meal, order a side of tostones ($2.75/4.75). They're plantains that are sliced, fried, pounded flat, and fried again; few better bar snacks exist. Each order comes with a couple rammekens of the same mojo de ajo for dipping, and the starchy tostones provide the perfect foil for tart, vinegary, and garlicky sauce. They're as well rounded a group of tostones as you're bound to find, and you won't encounter a soggy or under-fried specimen in the bunch. Eat with plenty of lagers.
About the author: Chris Crowley is the author of the Bronx Eats column. Follow him on Twitter, if you'd like. In person, your best bet is the window seat at Neerob, or waiting in line at the Lechonera La Piranha trailer.