Rincon Criollo (6504 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH) reminds us of home. This kind of restaurant serving Latin American or Caribbean food can be found in nearly every neighborhood in Chicago, so we felt right at home in this Cleveland mom and pop place. The food at Rincon Criollo is Puerto Rican, and it serves a menu of island favorites at reasonable prices. We arrived on a Friday night (note that they close at 8 PM) and the place was full of families and couples ordering takeout. The menu focuses on meat-heavy dishes like roast pork, roast chicken, beef stew and pork chops with sides of rice and beans (all less than $10). Rounding out the menu is a selection of sandwiches and a huge variety of traditional sides including maduros and tostones (fried savory or sweet plantains).
Though the appetizers like alcapurrias (fried banana fritters) and empanadas ($1.75), seemed tempting we went straight for the entrees. We knew we had to order our go-to sandwich pernil (roast pork) sandwich ($6). M debated between the jibarito (sandwiched between 2 fried plantains instead of bread) and cubano sandwiches, but eventually landed on shrimp mofongo ($11). The service was super quick, and before long we were munching on our food. The pernil was juicy and tasty, and the monfongo was absolutely huge, with a generous helping of garlicky plantains and even more delightfully garlicky shrimp. They also had a selection of Caribbean sodas and fresh juices – we enjoyed the passion fruit.Rincon Criollo a great place to get tons of food for the price, whether you are a Puerto Rican food newbie or an expert. We also appreciated the friendly, quick service and the no-nonsense vibe. On the weekend there are specials like cabrito (goat stew) and bacalao (salt cod), which we are hoping to sample. Whenever we are feeling homesick for some mom-n-pop Latin food we know where to visit (especially when we have a craving for roast pork).