The Venezuelan plaintain sandwiches at Patacon Pisao are like drunk food for sober people. Hefty fried plantains are smashed, then fried again to get extra crispy, then used as the sandwich "bread" for a variety of fillings. Take a bite of a Patacon ($6) and you'll fast decide that bread is overrated, at least when compared to the insanely crisp crust and tender, deeply sweet interior of the fried plantain.
My filling of choice was fried cheese, because one great fried thing deserves another. This variant on queso blanco came in wide, thin slabs, salty and meaty and gorgeously browned. Some noncommittal romaine lettuce and tomato try to lighten things up—and they do as far as they can. But it's the slick of mayo that really pulls this sandwich together, adding creaminess amidst all the crust.
I can't say this is a light sandwich, but it's surprisingly not a total greasebomb. It is, however, an ode to the frying arts, and a testament to how wonderful sweet and salty plantains and cheese can be.
Elmhurst 85-22 Grand Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (map) 718-899-8922
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