Do you know anything about Dominican/Nicaraguan cuisine?
Neither do we.
But that didn’t stop us from following Big Doogie (our omnivorous attorney/partner in eating) to a little joint across the street from the Huntridge “Oh When, Oh When Will It Burn Down?” Theater, for a sampling of its Carribean-inspired fare.
You see, Big Doogie never met a hole-in-the-wall, low end, 3-customers-a-day, barely-hanging-on joint he didn’t love. So we at ELV, partly out of curiosity and partly out of pity, occasionally follow him to one of his “discoveries.” It’s sorta like the French Army officers of WWI using the mindless rabble of their foot soldiers as cannon fodder. Send ’em out, and hope they come back with something you can use. Since Big Doogie has the size and constitution of a draft horse, we don’t generally worry about his health, and stand ever at the ready to take credit (like French generals) for whatever his death-defying reconnaissance has uncovered.
We were the only customers in Punta Cana last week (no surprise there), but found its food surprisingly tasty. We were told upon sitting down that no fish was available, which was just fine with us, as ordering seafood in a modestly attended, ethnic restaurant is always a crap shoot. (Believe us though, if the waitron had said “order the tilapia” Big Doogie would’ve been all over it like white on rice — even if the last time a piece had flown out the door was when LiLo was clean and sober.
What we did chow down on was mighty tasty: a vigoron salad resembling cole slaw with fresh fried pork skins, carne des menuzada (shredded beef sort of like ropa vieja in Cuba), and some nicely seasoned carne brochetas (skewered beef). All came with fried plantains, gallo pinto (rice) and a nice hunk of deep fried cheese. Best of all was a house-made, hot, onion/vinegar sauce that we couldn’t stop spooning over everthing.
Although we doubt the variety inherent in Nicaraguan cuisine will ever make an Italian sit up and take notice, other menu items sounded compelling enough for us to make a return visit including: tostones con queso (fried crispy plantains with cheese), salpicón (ground beef with pepper and lime juice), lomo de cerdo asado (roasted pork), churrasco con chimichurri (chimichurri sauce over rice), and sopa de gallina con albondigas (chicken soup with chicken balls).
And if you chance upon Punta Cana in the near future, and see a big white guy in a tie wolfing down a piece of fish, be sure to say “hi” to Big Doogie.
Our lunch for two came to $40 (including drinks and a tip).
PUNTA CANA CAFÉ
1122 Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89104