Daily, 24 hours
1, A, C at 168th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
160th St. to 170th St., Edgecombe Ave. to Riverside Dr.
El Presidente is a sprawling restaurant with an expansive Dominican menu that also encompasses Mexican tacos and quesadillas, Cuban sandwiches, and oddly, Italian dishes such as eggplant parmigiana and shrimp linguine. It may be a diner, but the Caribbean cuisine is unexpectedly vivacious, thoughtfully presented, and deeply satisfying. Anyone who hasn't tasted mofongo, the Dominican specialty of mashed green plantains and garlic, would be well-advised to sample it here. It's served as a small mound under a patina of garlic-cream sauce, guarded by a cordon of chicken, pork, shrimp, or codfish. The arroz con pollo, chicken with rice, is an equally palatable standard. With nearly 200 items on the menu—all manner of sandwiches, salads, seafood, chicken, pork, and burgers—there's no reasons to try the Caribbean fried beef, deeply charred strips of meat that seem to have been left for dead in the fryer. Breakfast can be omelets, pancakes, French toast, or (for the daring) mondongo, beef tripe. A jukebox in the corner plays bachata and reggaeton, adding to the aura of authenticity—even as the restaurant serves multiple cuisines, its heart is Dominican. Located across the street from Columbia-Presbyterian, it fills up with hospital personnel at lunchtime and neighborhood folks at night.Lunch Buffet
Daily, 11 a.m.—6 p.m., choose what you want from a rotating roster of daily specials for $5.35 per pound.
Reservations are accepted only for large parties of 20 or more.
Mofongo con pernil, $8.95; arroz con pollo, $11.95