Hotels in New York are obscenely expensive and the decent hostels tend to be booked a long time in advance. Whether for business or pleasure I stay with my friend Danny on the UWS (that's Upper West Side but you knew that anyway).
Any pain from sleeping on a sofa is mitigated by the fact that $200 a night is not being spent. And can be expended on an activity more to my liking. Like eating.
When you stay with Danny, you go to Malecon. Maybe you eat at home but Malecon is the Social Center of the hood (that's neighbourhood) in the mornings.
Good coffee, decent price at breakfast time. But later in the day you start to smell the chicken. That crisp garlicky chicken, roast on a spit causing the smell to permeate the surroundings. When the aroma of Dominican cooking reaches you, you know you are north of 96th Street and you realise you will be powerless to resist.
If I could order only the skin of the chicken at this Dominican eatery I might do just that. It is always what I eat first. I use the skin as a wrap to pick up just a little bit of the rice and soupy beans that come with it.
But the meat, flavoured with the rich marinade beckons and with the rice and beans I am reduced to helplessness.
I cannot pretend the roast chicken is the only draw, there is also chicken soup. If you want soup, soupy ask for more broth and less stuff, otherwise you get a bowl of stew with large pieces of Yucca and potato, along with vegetables and chicken. They only way you can identify it as soup is the food is damp. I like less stuff and more broth. They do it how you like.
And when you are feeling very flush, the seafood dishes are tempting.
This is the way you WISH your Dominican grandmother could cook, if you are lucky enough to have a Dominican Grandmother. Mine was German, I got potatoes.
Prices $3.50 to $30.00. Chicken, rice and beans for two, under $10.00
4141 Broadway, New York, NY 10033
Nearest subway 175th Street Station
phone 212 927 3812