Speed Round – El Jibarito
On a recent hunt during lunch time for some comforting food, I ran across El Jibarito on my way toward one of my regular haunts and figured I’d give it a shot. I really enjoy a number of the Puerto Rican/Dominican places I’ve been to around Rochester and I was intrigued by the name. I’ve been wanting to try a Jibarito sandwich and this seemed like an opportune time to do so. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the sandwich since they weren’t serving it the times I’ve been there but it consists of fried plantains as the bread, meat and then typical toppings like lettuce, tomato, garlic mayo and cheese. Definitely a disappointment since they haven’t had the sandwich available any of the 3 times I’ve been there and I would really like to try it.
What I did get was the typical small meal to go. Just an FYI for those that have not been to this style of restaurant, basic ordering is either a small, medium or large and for lunch a small is plenty for almost anyone to be full. Very affordable at only $6 for a small, they offer chicken, beef, roast pork and fried pork chunks and I went with half fried and half roast pork along with the yellow rice and beans and a side of hot sauce. Both the fried and roast pork were tender and the crispy outside of the fried added a great textural contrast between the soft rice and beans which were pretty flavorful. No skin with the roast pork although it wasn’t really missed with the deeply browned fried pork. I don’t recall any major seasoning notes other than salt and pure pork but there might have been some garlic in the mix. The whole combination is quite salty especially when drowned in the hot sauce, but immensely satisfying. Speaking of the hot sauce, it appears to be a commercial variety although well matched to the food. I do prefer a homemade variety with a little more funk to it, but this did the job.
This wasn’t anything special when it comes to this style of food but still somewhere I’d come back to especially if they are serving the Jibarito that day. Their website appears to be out of order and the guy serving me couldn’t communicate to me what days of the week the owner would be around to make the sandwich so if that is what you are hunting for go at your own risk. They also had a fried food case with empanadas, plantains and other goodies for sale to accent your order. Despite the menu flakiness, this is a solid option if you are in the area for lunch!