2018-09-12 / Restaurant of the Week

Pollos A La Brasa Mario

Fresh ingredients bursting with Colombian flavor is what Pollos a la Brasa Mario has to offer. You’ll smell the tantalizing aromas on Broadway as you approach the colorful restaurant on the corner of 41st Street in Astoria. At Pollos a la Brasa Mario, you are sure to enjoy the great food, friendly service, and affordable prices as you dine on the upper level balcony of the dining room, with an orange tree above you. Sigifredo is the hospitable owner and greets all his customers warmly. He visits the Fulton Fish market personally to purchase the finest fish served here and oversees the quality of the food and service. The bilingual menu has great photos and makes ordering easy. The staff is very friendly and helpful which makes this casual restaurant ideal for families, friends, and couples.

Our friendly waiter brought us glasses of wine–or have a cold beer or one of their tropical fruit juices while you pick on some fried green plantains called tostones, dipped into creamy, chunky, freshly made guacamole. A national treat called arepas are white corn cakes cooked on a hot griddle, then topped with melted cheese. Arepas can also be topped with savory sausage called ‘chorizo’ or with crispy pork skin. Each day, a different homemade soup is offered made with beef, chicken, plantains, fish or oxtail. These soups make a great lunch in cold weather. Next came a fresh, crunchy salad with shredded carrots, cucumber and sliced beets.

Colombian cuisine is very flavorful and hearty, not spicy, and it reflects the diversity of the country itself. On the menu you’ll find plenty of meat dishes, fish and seafood, and of course, their legendary chicken (pollo). From the fish market comes whole red snapper, an impressive fish, prepared either fried or boiled and served with plantains, rice and salad. There’s enough for two to share, especially with all the sides. Cazuela de mariscos is a seafood soup festival served in a cast iron pot replete with plump shrimp, fresh mussels, rings of calamari, octopus and juicy crab legs in a savory broth that’s delicious spooned over fluffy white rice. Shrimp with rice is a simple and flavorful dish served with salad and French fries and the portions are very generous here.

If you love meat, you’ll love Pollos a la Brasa Mario. The chef prepares hearty meat dishes on the spot in very big portions that usually provide lunch the next day. The traditional Bandeja Mario offers a sampling of grilled steak, one quarter chicken, pork loin, fried pork skin called chicharron, salad, rice, beans, and arepa. My friend, a triathlete, couldn’t finish it all so he packed it to go. Meanwhile, I always enjoy the entraña or grilled skirt steak, cooked to order and full of juiciness and great texture. The homemade chimmichurri sauce brings out even more flavor in this succulent meat. T-bone steak and tender, grilled pork chops are also quite popular here, as is the breaded steak or pork Milanese style.

It all started with pollos a la brasa which translates to rotisserie roasted chicken. Their special marinade and cooking process make this chicken the best you’ll ever have. Order a quarter chicken, half, and whole chickens to stay or to go. A whole roasted chicken makes a great family dinner with rice and beans on the side. There are grilled chicken breast platters, breaded chicken breast and a classic dish of arroz con pollo. You can’t go wrong with any of the chicken dishes served here and I often stop by after work to take one home to enjoy during the week.

For dessert, try a piece of tres leches cake, moist and sweet, the perfect ending to this savory meal. Cool, creamy flan in caramel sauce, and sweet figs with white cheese are traditional mouth sweeteners, best accompanied by a cup of robust Colombian coffee.

Treat yourself today with a Colombian home cooked meal at Pollos A La Brasa Mario. You need only visit their website for mouth-watering photos and the menu, and you can place your order from there to be delivered to your home or office. There are hearty lunch specials with a different entrée featured every day such as Tbone steak, fillet of fish, or rotisserie chicken, all served with rice and beans. Enjoy a delicious Colombian breakfast, lunch, or dinner, seven days a week. The restaurant is open until 3am on weekdays and 6am on weekends to accommodate the city that never sleeps but always eats well. Buen provecho!

40-19 Broadway
Astoria  718.932.2424

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