Best South American Restaurant - 2002
El Rinconcito Colombiano
Readers' Choice: Shenanigan's
This "Little Colombian Corner" will warm the heart -- and the belly -- of not only the homesick paisa but of anyone seeking simple, hearty, skillfully prepared fare in ridiculously large portions. Pull up a chair at one of the tables or just belly up to the bar under the eaves of the barrel-tiled faux balconcito and tuck into a breakfast of arepas, white cheese, and the soft, sweet, cheese-infused rolls known as pan de bono -- baked on-premises and also sold at the pastry shop next door. Come on back for lunch: Perhaps an appetizer of papas rellenas (mashed potato dumplings wrapped around ground beef, then dropped in the fryer) and one of the stick-to-your-ribs soups -- the Saturday special of sancocho de gallina (hen soup with onions, potatoes, yuca, and plantains) is a can't-miss. For dinner, go all-out for one of the bandejas, a huge platter offering a skirt steak, rice, red beans, two kinds of sausage (options include not only the standard chorizo but the very authentic morcilla blood sausage), a strip of chicharron (fried pork skin), and a fried egg. Or perhaps you'll opt for the sobrebarriga, a falling-apart pot roast stewed in a tomato-onion sauce and served with yuca. Whatever you choose, you'll have plenty left over for lunch (and possibly dinner as well) the next day.