Only Dominican Restaurant
You have to drive an hour towards Tomball, if you live in Sugar Land and want Dominican food. But it was worth it!
Food Adventure with my Sister
I have actually done a lot of adventuring with Jennifer since we were kids. But this is the first SIT-DOWN-DINING-BLOG-ADVENTURE together.
5 bonus points for that!
Welcoming Smiles...worth 10 bonus points!
When we entered at 6 pm, the owner Jarlis Lugo greeted us with a huge smile from the kitchen window. He took time to tell us about some of the wonderful dishes from his homeland, Dominican Republic. After we ate, he spent more time telling us about his background. Although he has spent the majority of his life in NYC where you will find the largest population of Dominicans, Jarlis prefers Houston. "There's a lot of evil in NY...more God here." He sort of laughed. I agreed that Houston is a pretty friendly place and that if we were in NY at that moment, we might not be having this conversation!
Rebecca, another big smiler!
It took about 5 times of pronouncing her name, until Rebecca laughed and told us the English version of her name. Rebecca grinned each time she repeated...and continued to greet us with a huge smile each time she served us a dish or refilled our drinks.
Rebecca is actually from San Salvador which got us off on an enthused conversation about yummy pupusas! But when I asked her favorite dish on the Punta Cana menu, she chose Mofongo de Queso!
This is my 43rd entry on my dining blog list and I must say Jarlis and Rebecca did more smiling and welcoming than any other restaurant on the list!
Mofongo...! A crazy amount of food for two, but there was so much to try!
We had to have mofongo, which is a popular Puerto Rican and Dominican dish. Below on the left, you see a rounded cakelike shape. This is mofongo, which is fried green plantains, mashed with broth, garlic, oil and pork cracklings. Jarlis made us a special spicy garlic sauce to enjoy with it. The Dominican fried chicken served with it was crispy out... and moist in! Perfect.
Sampler Our favorite on the sampler plate (upper right) was the shredded pork! So moist, it melted. The pepper steak had an Asian tanginess and the stewed chicken, along with 2 rices and a bowl of beans...was hard to beat.
Tostones! These flattened and (I believe) double fried slices of plantain (lower right) had a nice flavor combination of sweet and salty.
5 points (the max I give for food) for our meal at Punta Cana!
What a special treat when Jarlis presented us with complimentary dessert! Almond Flan and Coconut Flan! And look at the nice presentation. A strong 5 bonus points for bonus dessert! (coconut flan was my fave!)
Authenticity...music, language, decor...
I always give an extra bonus point for a flag! The Dominican flag in the window was a good reminder of the represented country! 2 bonus points for great merengue music playing. At least I think that's what I heard. Merengue has roots in DR! And 2 points for hearing lots of Spanish. It's not hard to be surrounded by the Spanish language in Houston, but it's fun knowing that many who dine here, as well as Jarlis have Dominican roots!
5 points for a comfortable atmosphere. I feel pretty comfortable in lots of places, but I really relax when things are clean. I relax even more when I see nice colors and decorative pieces that represent the culture. Next time, I'll ask Jarlis more about the small instruments and the beautiful photographs that were on display! I'm sure I will be returning.
The food, friendly atmosphere and a bit of culture gave Punta Cana a total of 35 POINTS in the Dining Blog!
Update in September!
I said I would return and I did a couple days ago with my son. Scott was excited to try the mofongo and we also tried chicken filled passtelitos. They were delicious, empanada-like treats! Rebecca was our great server, once again!
And thanks to Carlos for seeing the blog and answering my questions about the instruments. In his comment below he describes the instruments that had intrigued me on my first visit!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.