This venue is closed.
“Hola Mami, Papi!” is the cheery greeting that rings out most often in this fluorescent-bathed Puerto Rican diner, which has been serving rice, beans, and other barrio fare since 1959, longer than most of its customers have been alive. The interior is contentedly low-frills: Worn black pleather stools line an elbow-buffed linoleum counter. On a rickety shelf, a plastic saint draped in colorful rosaries keeps company with a retro boom-box, blaring Spanish radio. But don’t be fooled by the low-key vibe. Go on, try the pernil, or pork shoulder, which reveals all that’s delicious about roast pig: Crackly, caramel-colored skin plump with fat gives way to tender white meat. Steaming sides include red or black beans ladled over fragrant yellow rice, or mealy, nutty pigeon peas. Tostones, twice-fried plaintain chips, add crunch and bite, dipped into an eye-smarting garlic sauce. For Chelsea locals, day workers, and the beat cops toting their squawking radios, Cabo Rojo is as much a social pit stop as a gastronomic one; juicy eats and gossip go together like, well, rice and beans.Recommended Dishes
Roast pork with red beans and rice or pigeon peas and rice, $8.25; tostones, $2
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