Sofrito (White Plains) | Fall 2012
Pics and Ramblings…
The ‘burbs aren’t really my ‘thing’. Yes, I actually rest my head in the ‘burbs but I have little connection to the place — and still White Plains is sooooo far for me. Anyhoo, I took a chance with a Groupon offer for dinner at Sofrito in their suburban location of White Plains (although they have several locations in Manhattan).
Note: There are no plains in White Plains. Maybe there were plains, but today, it is a bustling city of concrete businesses with high rises (including the Ritz-Carlton down the street), along with leavy, tree-lined residential areas, and is the suburban ‘hot spot’ for shopping and nightlife in Westchester County (the county adjacent to the City of New York County). Conveniently, it’s about 35 minutes on the railroad (express, of course) from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
The Traveler and I ventured in on a brisk, cold night. The place was alive with hipsters, and ‘grown and sexies’…with some moms, dads and kids thrown in the mix who were out for the evening. The restaurant has a bar area and a front and back dining area — where we were seated — and may I say, promptly after arrival. (Yes, we had reservations.)
Location: On the ‘main drag’ of White Plains, with parking in a municipal lot across the street, valet parking available, and convenient by railroad (walking distance from the White Plains train station) and by automobile (short distance from the Bronx River Parkway, and just a little bit farther — but not much — from Interstate 287).
Food: They kept things tasty. The food is the focus. We liked that it was cooked with all the flavors that anybody from the Caribbean (and Latin America) would expect. And the portion sizes? You get your money’s worth. Value for money is what will keep patrons coming through the door. When they brought over The Traveler’s pernil (the roasted pork shank), no lie, it was like they placed the whole d*mn pig on the plate. O__O The only thing missing: The apple that could be sticking out of the mouth. Now, I’m exaggerating, since it was only a part of the pig, but mark my words, the portion was to be reckoned with. And no, the head was not included. Ladies, share this information with your husbands, boyfriends, male relatives…especially if they like to eat. By the way, the Buñuelos de Bacalao (cod fish puffs)…seriously, it’s like The West Indian Mother would make them! Yaaaaas. But she’d flatten them because that’s her style. *drops fork…uses fingers* Soft on the inside but cooked through…nice and big and puffy! Mmmmm good! *licks lips* They have a variety of fish dishes on the menu, including Snapper. So, for non-meat eaters (who eat seafood), you won’t starve…I promise.
Drinks: You know I love my cocktails. Anything pretty much with rum, tequilla and cognac. Yaaaaaas. I was not disappointed. My “WEPA”…*sips, sips, sips* The restaurant has a treasure trove of spirits behind the bar. Yeah, don’t think I didn’t notice. *side eye* (They may have to compete with one of my Latin faves, Havana Central…just sayin’…)
Staff: Friendly. From the hostess at the entrance (on the walkie talkie) to the waiters/waitresses. Sure, it was busy, but they were attentive, not pushy or hovering. (I hate hovering. I like places that have service staff that can scan from a distance.) Yes, the management appeared to have it under control.
Ambience: Modern, clean lines, airy, even when full — and believe me, it was a full house. Latin music played in the background. Not sure if it was all Puerto Rican music, but there are enough successes from pop to jazz to reggaeton, etc. that they can feature over the speakers.
Note: The volume of the music was just right. You heard it but you didn’t have to scream to have a conversation with your neighbor. Just a slight caution: If you are seated at the front of the house, near the entrance, it gets a little crowded. But, they make it work.
VERDICT: A ‘thumbs up’. I’ll check back with them in the spring and/or summer to see what the vibe is like as the weather improves. And I’m sending a “woop!” and a “Hollaaa!” to the chef. Nice job.
Table for two. Appetizer + Entrees + cocktails + desserts = May I have this to go, please? We’re full. Buenas noches.
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Side Chatter — enjoy…
While having dessert, a group of 12 hipsters, what I thought reminded me of the high school during lunch time, came in for dinner. This was the exchange between me and The Traveler:
Me: Hmmmm…Guess those are the cool kids?
The Traveler: Yup.
Me: Suburban Hipsters out for the evening — all young and cool and stuff….(voice trails off)
The Hipsters, all multi-racial and multi-cultural (we love this), are laughing and snapping photographs — basically, having a great ol’ time.
Me: Hm. *side eye*
The Traveler: *eye balls them*
Me: They’re cool…Hm. Let them enjoy themselves, ’cause one day, they’ll be old and slow with aches and pains like us…
The Traveler and I burst into hysterical laughter.