1, 2, 3 at 96th St.; B, C at 96th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
80th St. to 110th St., Central Park West to Riverside Dr.
Forget advertising. The only promotion Malecón needs is provided by the glistening bronze-skinned chickens spinning on spits in its window. They beckon diners into the shabby, wood-paneled dining room, where they're hacked up and sold for a pittance. Named for Havana's waterfront promenade, this Dominican restaurant fills with families looking for these birds and other inexpensive, homey foods and who don't mind rickety tables laid with clear plastic tarps that guard against sloppily spooned soupy rice. The price of this soupy rice—asopao—might make you question the restaurant's cheap status. But your doubt evaporates when a big metal pot arrives with enough of the soothing tomato-based potage to feed three. Potato-packed salt cod stew, only available Tuesdays, is similarly substantial, but too intensely fishy. And those chickens? It's worth enduring their slightly dry breast meat for access to their crackling, salty skin and juicy dark meat. All dishes should be accompanied by yellow rice, soupy black or kidney beans, and sweet fried plantains. Boiled cassava, however, is completely dried out. For dessert, try majarate, a pasty, super-sweet corn pudding that tastes like creamed pumpkin pie, or go for the drink morir soñando, a mixture of orange juice and milk that tastes like a melted creamsicle.Recommended Dishes
Soupy rice with shrimp, $18; whole chicken, $13.50