Monday, March 11, 2013
I've never been a fan of the east side. Something about it just never appealed to me as a child and I find it even less appealing as an adult. This is especially true in my neighborhood. I don't cross fifth avenue uptown but when Shrutster suggested that we find tapas in Harlem, I figured it was the perfect opportunity. El Kallejon is the kind of restaurant you would miss if you didn't know where to look. Tucked away down a few stairs on 117th and 3rd, it is overshadowed by its brighter, more colorful sister restaurant, Agua Fresca. The restaurant has only been open for about 9 months and doesn't have much of a weeknight crowd. The menu had several notable options and we were starving. We started with the Picudo Fish Ceviche.
It was like a bowl of never ending deliciousness! The fish was bite size and perfectly proportioned. The blend of jalapeño, red onion and lime juice was tart with a spicy bite. The ceviche was easily the highlight of the meal but the other dishes also didn't disappoint.
The El kallejon garlic shrimp tostas were a delicious surprise. The mix of garlic shrimp, chipotle aioli, avocado and roasted pineapple were creamier than I expected. I was a little hesitant to bite in, but was thrilled by the delicious shrimp and refreshing avocado. The pieces if bread were lightly toasted but thankfully not crispy.
We also ordered the Pollito tacos. I'm definitely a soft taco kinda girl so I was excited when these arrived. The bright colors and mix of adobo marinated chicken, black beans and salsa was even better when I added the avocado jalapeño sauce. I was overstuffed so it was hard to finish the tacos but I enjoyed every bite. Our server was kind enough to offer us a complimentary dessert.
The flan wasn't particularly delicious. I don't think it was because I was full. I think it had more to do with the consistency of the flan. The heart shape was cute but that's about the only thing desirable about the dessert. Next time I'll skip it or order something else. Thankfully the meal was otherwise worth it. I'm thinking East Harlem will be seeing more of me soon.
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