Worth the Wait

“The Most Delicious Cuisine in Midtown,” as it is stated on the menu of Papasito, a Dominican restaurant on West 53 street (between 8 and 9 avenues), is easy to miss when one is passing by. When it is dark outside, all you can see from the street is a long corridor that seems to lead to a cave. However, if risked to enter, one would discover the world of cheerful Latin music and delicious smells of food.

Pleasing the taste buds of food lovers, Papasito also accommodates their wallets: the prices are quite low for tourist-oriented Midtown area. Depending on the customer’s beer preference, a bottle costs four or five dollars and the most expensive dishes, all of them including lobster, are 28 dollars. Because of this, hungry people, looking for affordable – and good – food should overcome their fear of the view from the street and enter this magic grotto.

Indeed, the prices for appetizers vary from $5 to $8. Food specials available for each day ($4-$10 only), and there are bottles of wine for $18.

For a price like that, the place is worth trying once. If disappointed, you won’t lose a lot of money, at least. And unlike other cheap places, Papasito offers authentic food.

The first thing that catches one’s eye inside is the size of house Margaritas. They are served with some ice in glasses that can fit about five ounces. Sweet, mixed with fresh lime juice, Papasito’s Margarita is a refreshing addition to your favorite appetizer. Quesadillas, which could have been called jumbo tacos, as they are overloaded with cooked vegetables, are highly recommended. Choosing between cheese, chicken or shrimp quesadillas, one also gets sour cream and a side of pico de gallo. All of the above sounds more Mexican than Dominican, which reveals another secret of the restaurant – the diversity of food.

Indeed, the menu is not limited to Dominican food. There is a variety of pastas, a side of French fries and a dish of BBQ spare ribs for those suspicious towards the food they have never tried before.

By the way, for those who like to try new things, there are mofongo specials, mashed and then deep-fried plantains with the choice not limited to chicken, pork and beef. Besides, customers may be curious to find out what is in “Spaghetti Dominican Style,” as it sounds quite mysterious for such a simple dish. As a drink special, Morirsonando, which can be translated as “to die dreaming,” is a good non-alcoholic one. Despite its exotic name, the beverage is merely orange juice mixed with milk and truly, the simpler the ingredients are, the better the taste.

Good food, however, is not accompanied by great service. Do not go to Papasito if you are too hungry to wait for your food. The place is small, and it seems as if there are not too many cooks working there. The waiters are very attentive and willing to help; however, keep in mind that if you have questions, they may be left unanswered if you don’t understand a word in Spanish. To find out what Spaghetti Dominican Style is, you better try it and don’t bother trying to find out about the dish from the waiter: it will save you time.

You should also be careful though. If they bring you dishes you did not order, do not feel shy to send them back. What seems complimentary, at first, will be charged at the end. Free cheese is only in a mouse trap.

Nevertheless if an extra competent waiter, runner and bus boy are not essential to your restaurant experience and the only thing you are looking for is filling your stomach without emptying your wallet, Papasito is the right choice for you.

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