My baby brother Michael is a big fan of Puerto Rican food. He simply cannot get enough it. His cravings only intensified after he moved to New York, about two years ago, for work. Even though he can get a lot of the foods he craves in New York, as they say, there is no place like home. So every time he comes to Puerto Rico it is his time to load up on our delicious local eats. A few months back, my brother was in town so a family dinner was in order. After going back and forth with our options on where to go to eat, we decided to go to El Metropol Restaurant & Bar in Guaynabo.
El Metropol has been around for almost 50 years and was founded by Jose (Pepe) Canosa, a Cuban immigrant who moved to the island in 1964. It currently has six locations that include Hato Rey, Isla Verde, Guaynabo, Dorado, Barceloneta, and Fajardo. The restaurant has a casual family atmosphere and features and extensive menu that includes Puerto Rican, Cuban, and international dishes.
As our appetizer, we ordered the Ham Croquettes. Although croquettes originated in France, some people think they are of Cuban origin since they are extremely popular among Cubans. Sadly, these were a big disappointment since they tasted like the ones you get at the supermarket.
Fernando ordered the Ropa Vieja with a side of Congrí Rice (Rice with Black Beans) and Yuca al Mojo (Yucca with Garlic and Onion). The dish was perfection. The tender and shredded Ropa Vieja meat was packed with flavor. The Congrí Rice was hearty and full with meaty black beans. The Yuca marinated in garlic and onion gave it a wonderful kick of flavor. It is definitely the perfect side dish to any meal, mainly due to its versatility in the kitchen. It can be served boiled, mashed or fried). A definitive must have when visiting El Metropol.
My brother Michael went with the Mofongo stuffed with Shrimp in Garlic Sauce. This plantain, garlic, and fried pork skin mash up was a delight! The shrimp was slightly overcooked but the yummy garlic sauce made up for it.
I am addicted to the Seafood Asopao they make at El Metropol. So if I am eating there, chances are, it is the dish I will be ordering and this time was no exception. This flavorful soup had me hooked since the first spoonful. It is made with sofrito, achiote oil, chicken stock, and short grain rice and topped with decadent bites of lobster, calamari, clams and mussels (YUM!). I am getting hungry just by looking at the pic of the dish!
The downside to El Metropol is the painfully slow service. The food took forever to arrive at our table. Also, the restaurant does not take reservations, so expect to wait between 10-45 minutes to be seated depending on the day of the week.