Mofongo on Long Island: 4 picks for the plantain dish
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Said to have originated in Africa before arriving in the Caribbean, mofongo is a fried mashed plantain dish.
Most often, starchy fried plantains, garlic, broth and pork cracklings are pounded together in a mortar called a pilon. Meat is frequently part of the mix; a sauce is served alongside.
Here are four Long Island places that do the tradition proud.
Havana Central Restaurant & Bar, Roosevelt Field, Garden City, 516-739-7900
At this big, bustling Latin chain restaurant, shrimp mofongo features mashed plantains and garlic, plated with plenty of nicely cooked shellfish in a hyper-garlicky red sauce.
Dominican Restaurant 5, 1897 Deer Park Ave., Deer Park, 631-940-9783
At this no-frills Dominican spot, the mofongo is molded into a tall cylinder. You can get it done with shrimp -- a profusion of succulent shellfish -- in a rich and garlicky sauce.
Cafe Havana Bar & Grill, 944 W. Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, 631-670-6277
Recently reborn and refurbished, this Latin-Cuban restaurant offers a fine Caribbean mofongo topped with ropa vieja, softly stewed beef with tomatoes, onions and peppers. True comfort food.
Sabroso, 224 East Meadow Ave., East Meadow, 516-307-1750
Made with skill and care, one of several mofongo variations the garlicky fried plantains are mashed and mixed with boneless pieces of stewed chicken and molded into a cylinder before being plated. The moist, loose-textured mixture is served with stew gravy on the side.