Unfortunately, the Upper East Side can be a pain to get to. We rode the subway along Central Park West to 96th, then wandered through the park to get to the East Side. There were “Walk or run this direction” signs along the trail around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. We walked in the opposite direction as it looked like a significantly shorter walk. Such rebels. Hah. Located at the corner of Second Avenue and East 96th Street, Don Pedro’s feels relaxed, but slightly upscale. There’s a colorful Latin Caribbean feel and lively music. Very festive. Seems like a neighborhood hot spot, but we were seated immediately. When we were placing our orders, John was the only one who could properly pronounce the dishes. John’s half Cuban, and his dad makes some of these foods. The menu says “bottomless sangria while you eat”. They won’t serve any sangria until you’ve placed your order. As soon as you finish your dessert, no more sangria refills. Good sangria though. Fruity, but not too sweet with a light hint of alcohol. Don Pedro’s red sangria gets my stamp of approval! The prix fixe brunch menu offers 6 appetizers. We all passed on the soups and salads (even though they sounded good) and got the empanadas. Empanadas de Pollo, Res o Queso: Caribbean spiced chicken, beef or cheese empanadas with paprika aioli. The cheese empanadas were filled with ooey-gooey cheese. So melty! The paprika aioli was fantastic with the salad. I, unfortunately, got some chimichurri sauce on my shirt. Ugh, green sauce on a white shirt! John’s got the Tres Quesos, which had Manchego, Tropical and Swiss cheese with roasted potatoes and a salad on the side. The omelet didn’t look very big, but it was intense. That thing is stuffed with cheese. I had a bite and decided it was too heavy for me. I’m not sure what Kelly ordered, but hers apparently had fried cheese! Sung’s entree was orange, orange and more orange. Cocido de Pollo: braised chicken with potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic. Looked and smelled wonderful. Quite a lot of food, and I just can’t get over the bright orange color!
I ordered the Masitas de Cerdo Asadas: tender chunks of pork marinated in Caribbean spices served with sweet plantains and field greens. Oh my goodness. We all agreed that mine was the most impressive entree. I felt like I had hit a foodie jackpot. The pork was extremely flavorful and tender. I was expecting little chunks, but these were pretty hefty pieces of pork, which I ended up sharing with John. At first glance, the plantains look like more pork. Kelly thought that my plate had a gigantic piece of pork in the center, some greens on top and more pork arranged around it! That would be slightly terrifying. The pork was incredible. The sweet plantains were delicious. Greens were okay. Hmm, what is this orange oil that comes with every dish? After all that food, there’s still dessert! I’m normally not the biggest coconut fan, but I ordered the Coconut Tres Leche anyway. So glad I did. Coconut sponge cake soaked in 3 different kinds of milk. Nom nom nom. Sung was the only one at the table who did not get the Tres Leche. He ordered the Flan de Caramelo instead. Both desserts came with mango and berry sauce. Not the most artistic presentation, but so colorful. This was an entirely different style of brunch foods from what we used to. I’m not very familiar with this cuisine, so it’s hard for me to be critical and judge if it’s authentic or not. John was very pleased with the food. I thought it was pretty fantastic for $20, and I’m sure we’ll be back!