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Los Perros is a fun, late-night adventure. But if you want a true-to-form experience that won't have you trucking to Lauderhill, the 2-month-old Borojo in downtown Hollywood is another suitable destination for Colombian perros. I stopped in recently after playing a few games of pool and guzzling beer at Toby's Billiards just a few doors down, but when my friends and I arrived at Borojo, we were the only folks at the party.
The lone server behind the counter, a thin guy with thick stubble and a Latin accent, sat us down with a few menus and pointed first to Borojo's sizable list of arepas. He told us they, not the dogs, were Borojo's specialty. "If you don't like the arepas," he said with a grin, "then they're free."
Not a bad deal, we thought. And so we ordered two arepas: one layered with thin, pounded pork loin and Colombian hogado sauce ($7.50), the other a pairing of pork, mushrooms, and béchamel that was recommended by the waiter ($7.99). We also nabbed two dogs, of course, one with a beef frank, the other with chorizo ($5.50 each). To drink I got a Postobon, a bizarre Colombian apple soda that tastes like bubblegum. As we waited for our food, we watched the parade of the odd stream down Hollywood Boulevard, a show that's always entertaining in its own right.
4491 N. University Drive
Lauderhill, FL 33319
Compared to the clubby vibe of Los Perros, Borojo looks sterile. The room is hip in a sort of vaguely modern way, with wide, blank white walls with orange trim and a few flat-screen TVs mounted on the back walls. At its center is a big countertop that you don't order at — instead, the wait staff comes to your table and takes your order themselves. Before our food arrived, our waiter brought us three miniature corn empanadas, each searing hot from the fryer and filled with potato and herbs. On the side was a spicy green sauce made with Colombian aji peppers and vinegar. "This sauce is fantastic," one of my friends commented, scooping it up with bits of crunchy empanada. We kept the bowl around to later slather on everything we ate, and it was one of the best parts of the meal.
The arepas? I'd have asked to get them for free, though my friends enjoyed them. The hogado sauce was a mixture of chopped tomatoes with scallion and, in combination with the cheese and pork, unflatteringly resembled a sort of strange chicken Parmesan. The béchamel-slicked arepa was better, with freshly sautéed mushrooms and a smooth, creamy white sauce, but I felt it was a weird combo.
The hot dogs — like everything else served at Borojo — come on fancy, square white plates with metal forks and knives. Maybe it was the tableware, but I felt like Borojo's take on the dog was more refined than Los Perros'. Each dog was painted — not globbed — with sauces, and that painterly hand had obviously exercised some restraint. The crushed potato chips were crispier as a result and thus more texturally satisfying than at Los Perros. And the dog itself was hot and juicy. The Colombian-style chorizo Borojo serves is an awesome thing too: slightly spicy, stuffed with cilantro, and flecked with bits of ham-like meat and hunks of pork fat that don't quite render while cooking. My only complaint was the lack of pineapple: I couldn't discern whether there was any on there at all.
Still, we unanimously enjoyed the super perros at Borojo. "I liked it way better than any Chicago dog," one of my friends said as we paid our tab and left. "I'd be proud to eat here at 2 in the morning."
That's a bold statement, no doubt. But we are in South Florida, after all. And if we've got a type of hot dog more regionally appropriate than Colombia's own export, I'd sure like to meet it. Head on, of course.