The La Parada restaurant (nice people, Comidas Latinas, eat in or take out) violates that basic law of the universe that says, Fast, cheap, good: pick two. It manages all three. I know most of you aren’t overwhelmingly likely to be in the vicinity at mealtime, but if you are, it has by far the best food in the neighborhood, and it’s remarkably inexpensive.
Breakfast there is a little challenging if your basic breakfast meat isn’t salami, served with yuca or mashed green plantains plus eggs. The lunch especial is better: yellow rice, their nice soupy red beans, and your choice of beef, pork, or chicken, for $3.95.
They’re very proud of their roasted chicken, pollo rostizado. At dinnertime you can get a half chicken, plus rice and your choice of beans or fried plantains, for $6.00. If you want a whole chicken, it’s $9.00. They’ll frequently throw in a green salad.
You can get the same deal for a shifting weekly lineup of other entrees. Today’s Saturday, so the available dishes are bistec salteado (pepper steak), chivo guisado (goat stew), carne de res con zanahoria (beef with carrots), chuleta en salsa (pork chop in sauce), spaghetti con pollo (spaghetti with chicken) sancocho (Spanish soup), mondongo (beef tripe soup), and the glory of their menu: pernil, which is Caribbean-style roast pork.
La Parada’s version of pernil could raise the dead. On holidays like Easter, they cook some prodigious number of these roasts, and sell out of them by late afternoon. During Ordinary Time they have pernil every night except Tuesday, and sometimes sell out of it as early as 7:00. Not that their other stuff isn’t good too, mind you, so don’t worry about getting there and finding they’ve run out of it.
They also make a serious fresh-squeezed orange juice. I appreciate that. If you’d rather have a beer with your takeout, you have to go to the Diaz Grocery at the south end of the block, which is amusing because they’ll be playing the same telenovela you’ve been watching at La Parada while they’ve gotten your order ready.
There are only two things you have to watch out for. One is the big strip of fatty skin that inevitably accompanies a serving of their pernil. I can’t imagine eating it straight. I toss it into the bag of pernil skins I keep in my freezer, to use later in my cooking. The other peril is that you can’t open a takeout container of their beans without squirting bean broth halfway across the room. Whatever you do, don’t open it toward yourself. I just aim it at their yellow rice, since I spoon beans over my rice anyway.
Check it out. We’ve been doing our best to keep these people in business, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some help doing it. (La Parada, 855 Fourth Avenue (between 31st & 32nd), Brooklyn, 718/369-0115. Free delivery.)