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Mambo 64

15 Dec

 

 

 64 Main St.
Tuckahoe NY 10707 (Map)
(914) 222-9964
www.mambo64.com
 
 

The WBC recently received an invitation from Small Bites blogger Arlen Gargagliano to try Sunday brunch at Mambo 64, the Latin restaurant she owns in Tuckahoe. We enjoyed a variety of flavorful, Latin-themed brunch fare, including coconut pancakes, yuca with sofrito, and perfect-for-the-season Puerto Rican egg nog.

Attendees: Shelley, Sylvia, Jeff

Shelley

From the moment I received an email from Arlen Gargaliano asking if we’d like to try Sunday brunch at her restaurant Mambo 64, my appetite was whet. But I was also a little cautious. When it comes to Latin brunch, the WBC has had good experiences and disappointing ones.

Fortunately, Mambo 64 did not disappoint.

The restaurant has been open for a little over 6 months (in fact, when we brunched, it was the 6-month anniversary), and serving brunch for about a month and a half. The brunch menu is modest, with 6 core dishes and 6 sides to choose from. All brunch items are $17.95 and are served with a complimentary beverage of choice (cocktail, juice, coffee, tea).

While we studied the menu, we were brought a small bowl of roasted chickpeas. These crunchy nibbles provided the fuel we needed to decide what to get for brunch. Mambo 64 does a good job of offering brunch items for a range of tastes, including very authentic dishes to basics. I chose one of the more basic items: sopa paraguaya, Paraguayan style cheesy cornbread served with scrambled eggs.

My dish was just what I wanted, although I’d reverse the description on the menu to say scrambled eggs served with Paraguayan style cornbread. The eggs were really the main event of the dish, with the four small cornbread spheres acting as the accompaniment. My eggs were well cooked (just the way I like them!) with an even distribution of cheese. The cornbread was flavorful more savory than sweet, with, I believe, some peppers mixed in, and I enjoyed scooping up a forkful of egg and cornbread at the same time. It was delicate, although I also would have enjoyed a larger square of the cornbread.

Arlen treated us to a few drink samples during the course of our meal. Both of the drinks we tried can be prepared with or without alcohol. We were teetotalling it this morning, but I thought the drinks were delicious nonetheless even sans alcohol.

As we awaited our meals, first up was the sangrita, which Arlen explained means “little blood.” This was tomato juice, jalapeno, lime juice, orange juice, worcestershire sauce, and a bit of white onion. I was expecting quite a kick, but was pleasantly surprised at first sip to discover the sangrita was sweet more than anything else. It can be enjoyed alone or also in Mambo’s Bloody Maria.

After our meals we were treated to coquito, or Puerto Rican egg nog. No the rum for us, but this was a really refreshing beverage post-meal. The delicious secret (or not so secret, since Arlen shared the recipe over on Small Bites) is the coconut milk. The coquito comes served with shreds of coconut on top. I could have easily had a much larger glass. The coquito is seasonal and will be served until January, so either make it at home following the recipe or head over to Mambo 64 to have one expertly prepared for you.

What stood out to me perhaps the most were the sweet little touches that made me feel like I was visiting a friend’s kitchen. It was lovely to see Arlen greet each guest personally, warmly welcoming them into her space. When the check arrived, it came in a cigar box, along with a small flashlight and magnifying eyeglasses–to help you see the check. Something about it reminded me of a bunch of older girlfriends passing around a pair of drugstore reading glasses in order to read something. And at the end of our meal we were served a plate of assorted candies and chocolate cookies with a dash of cayenne. The cayenne pepper in the cookies was just enough to create a richer, full-bodied chocolate flavor, and thankfully not enough to read as overly spicy on my tastebuds.

Mambo 64 was a welcome change of pace from our usual brunch routine and I’m glad we’ve added it to our roster. Head over for a little Latin taste in Tuckahoe.

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Sylvia

Tuckahoe is a town I usually pass through while on the train.  That’s too bad.  With restaurants like Growlers Beer Bistro, and now Mambo 64, you have to start to wonder what other gems might be found in this town.

The brunch offerings at Mambo 64 don’t compromise on Latin basics to appease the assumed American sensibility.

The brunch menu is limited to a few egg dishes and a Latin twist on pancakes and French toast.  I was torn between the Tico-Style breakfast (Costa Rican style rice and beans with scrambled eggs, warm tortillas, maduros and sour cream) or giving Chilaquiles another go (remember Casa Maya?).

In the end I chose the Tico-Style breakfast after remembering how a friend of mine really enjoyed the rice and beans for breakfast during her trip to Costa Rica.  Plus it was filled with my favorites: eggs, rice and beans, and maduros (especially maduros, or sweet plantains).

I also got a side of fried yuca in sofrito because I love the ones at Sofrito, and I figured I would try another version to compare notes.

Coffee was good, and my cup was never empty. .

The fried yuca was great.  While Sofrito is a little bit of yuca and a lot of seasoning, Mambo 64 showcases the well fried yuca perfectly, albeit not as well seasoned.

The Tico-style breakfast was portioned perfectly.  A bowl of yumminess that wasn’t overly filling but still hearty and warm. The eggs were cooked well, the rice and beans were moist and tender but not greasy.  The tortillas that came with it were a touch tough and not warm.  The maduros were well made.  Soft and sweet, but not mushy and overly syrupy.

Jeffrey loves coconut, so it wasn’t a surprise that he would go for the coconut pancakes.  The pancakes were topped with a generous amount of fruit, and the citrus ginger syrup (made with housemade ginger syrup) was delicious.  Jeffrey felt that the portion size was good, but he could have gone for more if he wanted to be more gluttonous.

All the brunch items were $17.95 and come with a complimentary cocktail.  Only Jeffrey partook.  I steered him towards the Ginger-Champagne cocktail, because honestly, I wanted to try some, but couldn’t finish a whole one.  It was very yummy.  the ginger syrup (house made) gave it a nice warmth, without letting the tartness of the lemon or sweetness from the champagne over power each other.

The czar says:  A good break from the usual eggs and sausage breakfast routine.  Not the usual throw an egg on a dinner item and call it brunch type establishment.  They put some thought behind the dishes, and it shows.  The quality and exercise in restraint was definitely noticed and appreciated.

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