After a very long day of stimulating the economy on Friday, I wanted to grab a quick dinner with the mister before going Krogering. Ever since hearing about the opening of a new Puerto Rican restaurant, Antojitos Criollos, right down the street, I'd been itching to try it. That spot across from the Eastown Shopping Center has sat vacant for at least 5 years, formerly housing the Mexican restaurant El Rincon.
This tiny strip mall sits so close to the road that parking is a little strange. Easy enough to get into, but difficult to back out of if there's traffic on Linden. We scored the one empty spot in front of the cleaners, but I couldn't figure out why the lot was full when the cleaners, the smoke shop and the restaurant were practically empty. That is, until we entered the restaurant to find what I can only assume are the employees' friends and/or family taking up two huge tables in the front. We walked past them and seated ourselves, since no one else was doing it. A girl who barely spoke took out drink order and gave us menus. The menu was only 2-3 pages, and very limited. The longest list was appetizers, and even most of those were just smaller versions of entrées. The only thing I noticed that looked appealing was the empanadillas, but I turned my nose up pretty quickly at the $12 price tag. The entrées consist of mofongo (mashed plantains w/garlic) and a choice of meat, which I think there were five of. And that's IT. No pollo fricasse, no pasteles, nothing. Again, most of the price points over $10, which really surprised me. I'm known to be a bit of a penny pincher, but I know where to expect higher price points. I can see paying $12 for an appetizer at El Meson, or even The Green Plaintain, but not a dive like this. I don't say dive in a bad sense, either - I love dives. I was hoping for a little hole-in-the-wall with great food and reasonable prices.
But, I do use the words "abomination" and "shit hole" in a bad sense. Once the waitress begrudgingly took our order and brought out our canned drinks (which loyal readers know I think is total bullshit), we waited thirty minutes without a word as to why our food was taking so long. To boot, during that entire thirty minutes, we couldn't hold a conversation because of the ruckus being brought by the two full tables of loiterers in the front, playing cards and yelling like they learned their inside voices in a sawmill.
When another guy gave my husband the "Are you going to be the one to ditch this place first, or are we?" look, we knew it was time to GTFO. We would have just left a few bucks on the table for our drinks and split, but we didn't have any cash. When we finally caught our server again and waited for her to get off her cell phone, we told her we had an emergency and needed to leave, but could pay for our beverages on a card. She didn't look the least bit bothered by losing one of their TWO paying customers, and said "Don't worry about it," and walked away.
I can't give them a rating since we didn't even eat there, but I can tell you we won't be giving them a second chance.