Astoria, Food and Drink, Restaurants
Jul 11, 2014

Trying Puerto Rican Cuisine at Don Coqui

Meg and Judith sample Puerto Rican cuisine at Astoria’s Don Coqui restaurant

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We’ve often marveled at the expansive eatery on the corner of 31st Street and Newtown Avenue known as Don Coqui.  Meg and I met there a few weeks ago, tried a good part of their menu and soaked in the vibrant surroundings.  The vibe is airy, festive and friendly to larger groups, especially given their weekly specials including $28 Mondays, discounted entrees on Tuesdays, midweek lobster specials and more.  Here are a few of our personal foodie highlights:

 Appetizer Platter

Don-coqui-app-platterWelcomed with a huge appetizer platter for two (although I think it could’ve fed four), we sampled a little bit of everything including shredded roast pork wrapped in yuca, a variety of empanadas, fried calamari, plantains topped with steak, pork and codfish and more.  We had a hard time deciding where to start, so we went at this from all angles.  In the end, my faves were quite simple – the calamari and some crispy chicken that was nice and moist on the inside.

Ropa Vieja with Amarillos

Don-coqui-maduros

This was Meg’s dish of choice and the best part is what you can see above – the Amarillos or the sweet plantains.  Boasting a slightly well done edge and a sweet as pie middle, it was almost a cross between a side dish and dessert.  I could’ve very well had it as my main dish too.

Dessert Platter

Don-coqui-desserts

Once again, a tall task awaited, as we were offered an extensive array of Latin desserts, with tres leches cake and three different types of flan amongst them.  I’m happy to say they tasted as delicious as they looked, with the flan trio being the clear stand-out.  My favorite was the toasted coconut with a slightly burnt caramel glaze, which conjured up images of being on an island.  The chocolate flan didn’t suck either!

Impressed by the gracious service and the warmth of Chef D’Angelo (previously of Mercer Kitchen), it’s clear that Don Coqui fills a special niche in the neighborhood.  We noticed lots of larger parties, including families dining here on a Monday night, which says a lot for a usually slow restaurant evening.

Don Coqui28-18 31st Street, Astoria. 718.274.7474

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