Yesterday I went up to 181st street to visit a friend who is about to move away from New York. Washington Heights is a neighborhood I don’t know well. After I left her I wanted to grab a bite to eat. I saw an Irish pub, a Chinese restaurant, a sushi place, and then I remembered that I had once eaten at El Malecon, one of the best known Dominican restaurants in the neighborhood. I headed down towards 175th Street and on the corner where I thought I’d find Malecon (I was a couple of blocks off–actually on 177th), I found Mambi Steak House. Inside, there are about 10 tables and a long counter with fast food style menus overhead. Behind the counter there is a lot of hot food and other prepared food. All the way in the back, is a small bar, where it looked like there was more drinking than eating going on. I was a little worried about the hot stations. The waitresses were serving the food from those stations and I wasn’t sure about food that was already prepared and sitting there. But the place was hopping and I was starving.
I took a seat at the counter and had a fabulously delicious meal. Everything that went past me also looked delicious.
The menu is huge–there’s sandwiches, there about ten different chicken dishes on the menu, lots of shrimp and fish and about 15 variations of steak. There’s also a list of about 15 daily specials–mostly stews and soups.
I ordered the pernil (roast pork) with rice and black beans–the small $8.50 portion. I got a traditional plate of Caribbean food–a big portion of roast pork with peppers and onions, white rice, a bowl of black beans, and lots of sweet cooked plantains.
Everything was cooked perfectly and had lots of flavor, including the black beans. It’s a long subway ride up to the 175th Street stop on the A train, but I can’t wait to go back.
Mambi Steak House is at 4181 Broadway (corner of 177th St). It is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!