We entered Ropa Vieja and were greeted by a nice older gentleman who was a server. He was leading us to a table he thought was open, but as soon as he rounded the corner saw that it was occupied. It caused him to stutter step a bit and he nearly lost his balance. He then smiled and, in an attempt to communicate 'I meant to do that', started dancing a little jig right there. My girlfriend started dancing right back and they did a little number for about 10 seconds. It was endearing.
Because the menu is very extensive, we asked him what the specialties of the house were. His English wasn't perfect but was much better than our Spanish and he gave us several recommendations. We ordered mojitos (delicious and not too sweet), cuttlefish in garlic sauce (Sepias al ajillo) the Puerto Rican pork chop (Chuleta Cancan) and the shrimp mofongo (Mofongo de Camerones)..
The cuttlefish was a bit tough but was decent and had a lot of garlic flavor. The shrimp mofongo was delicious and, while rich, was not a gut bomb. We ate every last morsel of it. The pork chop was the traditional Puerto Rican cut that is deep fried. If ordering this, go all out and make sure to get a bite of the fat with each bite. I know that is decadent, but just eating the meat won't give the full flavor of the dish. Sinful, yes, but worth it. He also recommended a nice bottle of red wine that was just $35 which is very affordable in this part of San Juan.
Overall they made us feel like regulars. We recommend Ropa Vieja for anyone who desires authentic Cuban and/or Puerto Rican food.
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