F, G, R at Fourth Ave.-9th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
5th St. to 14th St., Fourth Ave. to Seventh Ave.
El Viejo Yayo translates as The Old Grandpa, and a cozy, homespun aesthetic seems to inform the interior of this affable diner. While floral-print cushioned chairs, taped-up family snapshots, random still-lifes and geisha prints lend a chintzy, old-fashioned air, families happily fill the space nightly, and a handy tank of tropical fish keeps fussy toddlers transfixed. There are burgers and even Italian dishes here, in an obligatory nod to mainstream diner fare, but the kitchen focuses squarely on its Dominican entrees. Chicken stew is sturdy and satisfying, marinated for hours, cooked with potatoes, celery and tomatoes, and served with a mountainous side of yellow rice and beans. Pounded flank steaks are simply seasoned with black pepper and fried onions, and a pile of tender, shredded pernil is pulled straight from the whole roast pig. It’s not unusual to feel stuffed without having made a significant dent in your meal. For a less crowded but equally tasty venture, breakfast features heartstoppingly thick pancakes, strong coffee, and slabs of fried cheese. Grandpa would be proud.Special Deals
A half-dozen low-priced family dinner packs feed three to four for little more than a Hamilton bill. See the menu for details.Recommended Dishes
Pernil, $8.95; Yayo steak, $12.95; chicken stew, $7.85; pancakes, $3.95