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What can I say about this place that hasn’t already been said… Margon is a Midtown institution. When I started this blog (and wrote about Margon neighbors Minar & Kati Roll) I got tons of emails from people telling me I should go to Margon. For those who have been there- you know the deal. For those who haven’t… here’s your introduction.
Margon is a “Cuban” “Restaurant”. I put “restaurant” in quotes because it’s not really a restaurant. It’s more of a diner with cafeteria style ordering. On the left is where you point to the food you want, on the right are a few cramped tables that at peak lunch hours, are always packed. Moving from left to right along the counter… the first third is where you order the sandwiches. If you don’t want a sandwich, ignore the crowd that gathers at the door. Bypass the line and head inside. The second third of the counter is for people who are ordering food to stay, and if you want to take your food to go, go to the line that forms all the way in the back- after the final third of the counter.
I put the “Cuban” in quotes because even though the sign outside says “Cuban”, it’s actually more Dominican. The first giveaway is the poster of the Juan Pablo Duarte in the back (one of the founders of the Dominican Republic)… but the real proof is in the Cuban Sandwich. A delicious pressed sandwich of pork, ham, cheese, mustard and pickles- the Margon version also has salami, a strictly Dominican preparation. While some complain that it’s not authentic, it is no less delicious!
I could write on and on… but Margon is better enjoyed by the eyes:
The sandwich press
The finished product
More food porn… and the +/- after the jump:
There are very few things I enjoy eating more then pork. Any kind of pork really, but my favorite is definetely the roasted kind where the skin gets super crispy. It usually comes from the shoulder, and you can get it at Cuban restaurants, or Christmas parties in Miami (my hometown). But I have had delicious roast pork in other places too (if you’re ever in Bali I can recommend a great place for roast suckling pig).
On Friday, with Margon closed (great Cuban food on 46th between 6th & 7th) I headed to Cafe Cello- a similar type of place recommended to me by numerous people… The sign out front was not exactly reassuring. It had clearly been dumbed down to attract a less then adventurous New York food crowd, who would be more likely to go into a place if it sees the words “cafe”, “deli” and “American”.
But, once inside, my fears disappeared. The food looked really fresh and delicious (in contrast to Margon, which for all it’s positives, can sometimes not look so great depending on the day.) All the food is in trays under glass, so ordering is as easy as looking, deciding and pointing. The day I was there, it wasn’t too crowded- but I’ve heard you want to get there early, because once they run out of something, they don’t make more. And by something, I mean the maduros (fried ripe plantains) which apparently are the first things to go!
Anyway, once I laid eyes on the roast pork (with the crispiest most perfect skin), ordering was pretty easy. Along with a nice size portion of pork (pulled with tongs off what appeared to be a shoulder), they give you your choice of white rice w/ black bean soup, or yellow rice with pinto beans already mixed in, and maduros (there was still some left at 1pm)- all for $7. PLUS, they threw in a piece of the skin on top. Delicious!!! And the skin was perfect. If you love roast pork, then Cafe Cello is your new favorite place.
The rest of the menu, and a +/- you’ll definetely want to read, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »