Thursday, September 18, 2014

San Juan BBQ - A little Pueto Rican Restaurant in Riverside CA (Rating: 7 out of 10)

Let me introduce you to Mofongo, the only entree that I know of that has the word "MOFO" in it. Doesn't Mofongo sounds like the name of an evil super villain? In reality it is a meaty dish surrounded by a shell of crushed plantains and fried pork rinds.

How was it? I have absolutely no clue because my co-worker, Dan, ordered it and I was not comfortable asking him for a bite. We're just not that far into our relationship yet.

Chicken Mofongo
Chicken Mofongo

Good ol' Yelp helped us find San Juan BBQ - a little Pueto Rican restaurant in the heart of Riverside CA. It has excellent reviews so we decided to check it out.

The walls of the interior are so bright it can probably be seen in Puerto Rico and possibly acts as a homing beacon to get customers to come in. The actual restaurant itself reminded me of a liquor store complete with a gift shop where you can fill up on on your Puerto Rican souvenirs so you can fake a trip to the Caribbean on Instagram and fool all your friends and family.

Why buy a plane ticket when you can just get a hat?

When we first arrived it was about 12:30pm and the place was empty. I didn't think this was a good sign but the service was great since we were the only ones there.

San Juan BBQ Menu
The Menu at San Juan BBQ

I was really debating on the Mofongo till Dan beat me to it. I was also looking to get a hot pressed sandwich but I didn't want to eat anything squished. I decided to go for something off the menu and got a Roasted Pork Lunch Special for $5.99 that included a drink and I threw in a beef empanada just because I'm fat. Pretty good deal.

San Juan Lunch Special - Roast Pork
Slow Roasted Pork, Yellow Rice, Beans, and Plantains

I didn't realize there would be that many onions but they were at least set on top like a hat so I could easily scrape them off. The dish was pretty good looking. I really like the fez shaped rice and the little bowl of beans that didn't automatically merge with all my other food.

Mark Lim
The First Bite

Boy was that first bite salty. I had a little bit of a hard time eating it but after mixing it with some rice it really started to all blend together. The pork was juicy and flavorful and I really enjoyed it when it wasn't turning my tongue into a pillar of salt.

Beef Empanadas
Beef Empanadas

I really loved the empanada. It was a my little ethnic hot pocket. There's little bits of veggies and potato in it to and it actually wasn't super oily or salty. I would have preferred to get a 6 pack of these and ate them as a meal instead.
 

Roasted Pork, Yellow Rice, and Fried Plantains

The rice itself was good and had a lot of texture and taste. I really just wished the pork wasn't so salty. I'm not sure if that's just how it's supposed to be and that's how it's been in Puerto Rico for generations or if I had a bad plate. Even then I did finish everything. I also wished I had more of those fried plantains. They were pretty dang good.
 
Category Score Comment
Taste: 6 I would have bumped it up if it wasn't so salty!
Presentation: 7 Food looked great.
Value 8 I think I got a lot for $5.99 + a $2.25 Empanada
Satisfaction: 7I'll definitely come back and try something else
Rating: 7 out of 10

San Juan BBQ Riverside CA

San Juan BBQ - 10203 Hole Ave, Riverside, CA 92503

Dan said he did not like his Mofongo because it was too thick and bland. I really should have snaked a bite when he went to the bathroom because now I'm dying to try it. I might just have a deep seeded mistrust of Dan.

Overall I enjoyed myself. The food was flavorful and the service was great. I definitely want to come back and get a pressed sandwich and maybe make someone get the mofongo so I can actually try it without investing my lunch choice into it.

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