We drove into Santurce hoping to eat at Santaella Restaurant, but it was closed. We then opted for Jose Enrique and we were so glad we did. The place is really modest from the exterior, appearing more like a house than a restaurant with no sign to distinguish it. A waitress saw us outside, opened the front door and invited us in. We were there early and found local businessmen and women at the bar having drinks and a few locals seated at the tables. No reservations are accepted and it's first come, first served. It is a small restaurant with just a dozen or so tables. The waitresses were very personable and diligent. There are no menus like traditional restaurants. The waitresses bring over the days offerings written on a marker board which also states that the chef uses natural and organic products.
We ordered appetizers: alcapurrias stuffed with crab meat and breaded fried mahi mahi fish tenders. Amazing! For an entree I ordered the carne guisada which is an old PR recipe, but here it was made with filet mignon. The meat was so tender and contained no fat, gristle or bone. The best I have ever had, bar none. The tostones (plantains) were large but thin and crispy the way I like them. Others at my table had the churasco steak which was rated as very tender, very flavorful and delicious, the fried snapper which was also moist, tender and flavorful (I tried it and can vouche for that!). For desert I had the coffee flan which was excellent as it was very creamy the way I like my flan. It was the best flan I have tasted. The others at the table had the chocolate mousse cake which was very good also.
Jose Enrique came out of the kitchen briefly and we were able to meet him. He was very nice, but modest, considering his talent. Next time we are in San Juan we will return to this restaurant.
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