"Parts Unknown" got me here. Anthony Bourdain's visit to the Bronx as an "exotic destination" turned up this gem, the Sine Qua Non of Latino cuisine. No, it's not Cubano, or Mexicano - it's quintessential Puerto Rican cooking, and they do the heck out of it. My initial ignorance of the cuisine led me to choose the eponymous "Cuchifritos" on my first visit...I did see them being dished out on "Parts Unknown," but it turns out (I learned later) on Anthony's on-camera plate was a load of Chicharrones. I got there and didn't know how to order it! Chicharrones (per se) are not on the menu at 188 Cuchifritos, but they are in the window. Chicharrones are such a staple, they're assumed in Puerto Rican cuisine. Chicharrones defaults to mean deep-fried, un-breaded Pork Belly. The skin is a dream of crispiness. It's like an hallucination of uncured bacon in its ultimate state. Here, It's beyond description delicious. A variant - Chicharrones de Pollo - is on the menu, and it's astonishing. A chicken lover's delight. Eat your heart out, Buffalo Wings! The Cuchifritos, which I did experience, were plenty tasty, but I was disturbed later to discover they're tripe. Served with blood sausage, they were a little challenging for my palate. I'll grow into them, I'm sure. No, it's all about the Chicharrones here for me. And, the indescribably savory yellow rice, black beans, diverse and vibrant salad with pink pickled onions, and sublime Flan. You gotta go here if you're a pig or chicken lover. This is the stuff! The 4 Fordham Road stop is a block north and half a block east of the place. GO.
Jon B. on Feb 1, 2015