For lunch today I tried New York City’s Cuban food truck, Bongo Brothers, looking for the perfect meal for a hot summer day. This truck usually operates downtown or in the West Village during lunch time, but they ventured to Midtown twice this week. Bongo Brothers first caught my attention with their dreamy truck design, sparsely decorated with a red and yellow palm tree logo that made me crave a vacation, hopefully their food would take care of that.
Offering sandwiches, platters and sides, I decided to get the $9 ropa vieja platter, shredded flank steak with red peppers and sautéed onions, served with white rice, black beans, and two platano maduros (sweet plantains). The meal was nicely packaged in a plastic container, which helped keep all of the flavor locked in on my walk back to the office.
The platter contained far more meat than I anticipated; almost half the box was filled with shredded steak, which is more than I can say for most meat platters I’ve eaten. Though the meat was plentiful, it wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped. The sweetness from the plantains added a good amount of flavor though, and complemented the meat’s flavor and texture very well. The rice and beans were consistently good, and were slightly flavored from the generous helping of steak on top. The meal also came with a small bun that I assumed was meant to accompany the meat to make a small sandwich – which is exactly what I did.
Though the ‘ropa vieja’ itself wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped, the side dishes and the quantity of meat provided more than made up for this. Bongo Brothers offers a good lunch at a great price, and in addition to the items I mentioned they have several other sandwiches and platters I would love to try, like the Cuban sandwich, the marinated pork and the mojo chicken.
You can pre-order from Bongo brothers and skip the lines here.
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