Elsa La Reina Del Chicharrón
1515 Teaneck Road, Teaneck NJ 07666
Web Site (Spanish): http://lareinadelchicharron.com/
About a week ago, we noticed that the vacated building on 1515 Teaneck Road which had been sitting fallow for two years was showing sign of life. Previously, it was Stickey’s BBQ restaurant, which had taken over and completely renovated the former Wonder Bread outlet before closing suddenly in 2006, about a year after it had opened. Curiously, Rachel and I pulled up to see that new blue awnings had been hung, emblazoned with the magic word — Chicharrón (CHEE-CHARR-ROAN). That could only mean one thing — Latino Cuisine!
This weekend was the restaurant’s opening, and we happened upon it on opening night. While the place hasn’t fully gotten its act together yet, I happen to think that the food itself was very good Dominican/Puerto Rican/Cuban fare, in particular when focusing on the items the restaurant excels at, such as Fried Pork (Chicharron), Roast Chicken and Roast Pork (Pernil) as well as the signature 7-meat Sanchocho soup flavored with Recaito (sofrito without tomatoes).
The New Jersey branch of Elsa is the chain’s 5th store, which has locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. For those of you not familiar with Dominican cuisine, you might want to look at my posts on El Malecon and La Estrella del Caribe.
Estas Listo para some serious Comida Latina? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry link” below por mas!
For the most part, Elsa hasn’t altered the interior of the former BBQ restaurant. They’ve done some work to the counter area and went with a less kitchier theme than the previous establishment, but everything is clean and nice.
Main dining room
Chicharrón, the signature fried pork ribs. Crunchy pork skin, fat and meat. This ain’t diet food, kids. For those of you who aren’t pork eaters, there is also Chicharrón de Pollo, a fried chicken version.
Chicharron is chopped up into orders using a large Chinese cleaver.
Orders of Chicharron.
Elsa, like other Dominican restaurants of its type, is also known for its roast chickens.
Elsa has a huge menu to choose from. Notice that they also serve the traditional Dominican breakfast items, and the restaurant is also going to be serving Cuban Sandwiches as well.
And of course, the daily specials section.
Ensalada a La Reina. Yeah, its a salad with fried pork. So sue me.
Some more pieces.
Arroz Amarillo, yellow rice.
Sancocho de Siete Carnes soup, a must order. This is a hearty thick soup which has seven different types of meat in it and is flavored with Recaito, a vegetable/herbal mixture common to caribbean cuisine that features the Recao or Culantro leaf. That big chunk of meat you see there is an entire pork rib.
Dominican red beans.
An order of roast chicken.
Pernil, Dominican roast pork.
Roast Pork closeup.
Eggplant and Okra, one of the daily specials.
Elsa is now the most significant Carribbean latino restaurant in the entire Teaneck/Englewood/Bergenfield area, which should bring in many happy customers seeking this type of cuisine.