We have been waiting with baited breathe for the opportunity to visit the new Vejigante Restaurant (in the former Don Ricardo’s). In fact, Big Papi gave his approval. Until Vejigante, we were eating Puerto Rican at our one and only favorite Puerto Rican lunch spot Cafe Latino, Government Center. We were with alot of Puerto Ricans in our party, ready to sample Vejigante’s authentic PR fare. The restaurant is located past Restaurant Row towards Villa Victoria and the Blackstone School.
Vejigante is upscale PR cuisine and the chef was trained at the Cordon Bleu trained. Vejigante is in the heart of Boston’s South End, the center state of Puerto Rican culture during the week of El Festival Betances. It has numerous tables for outdoor seating.
The restaurant reminds us of Old San Juan and the restaurant, El Jibarito in Old San Juan.
The restaurant’s interior is clean, full of colorful hues, Vejigante masks and street signs (Calle in Old San Juan). We loved the lighting, booth area and bar area. The Latin beats and batchata music made us want to do salsa dancing.
Vejigante serves Batidos De Frutas fruit shakes, from fresa (strawberry), parcha (passion fruit), guineo (banana), pina colada, guayaba (guava) & mango for $4.00. We had to have an obligatory pina colada. It was candy sweet, icy and very tropical.
Several of us enjoyed Senor pina’s secret recipe for sangria at $10.00. You can’t go wrong with several sangrias.
The Pinchos De Pollo or grilled chicken kabobs with vejigantes bbq sauce were well done. The nicely charred chicken was slathered with barbeque sauce and there were two sticks for $3.95. We’ve enjoyed some solid pinchos at Loquillo and at Crashboat Beach, the Los Pinchos de Titii in Aguadilla.
We had two orders of Ceviche De Mero or grouper ceviche for $7.95 each. Quite frankly, we have better elsewhere. Although the lime juice was refreshing, the grouper it self was not tender and seemed precooked before adding the acidity. We were hoping for fresher.
We shared an appetizer plate which was a combination of fried items from Luqillo Beach. The Luquillo Kiosks in Luquillo Beach are perfect for fried foods, Puerto Rican cuisine, the beach and regaetton beats.
The Variedad De Luquillo included codfish fritters, mini mash plantains, cornmeal sticks, breadfruit chips and alcapurrias. ground beef filled fritters made from a mixture of taro root and green banana for $19.75. We loved that all the fried items were served with Mayo Ketchup.
Another favorite of the table not pictured was the Chicharron De Pollo fried breaded chicken chunks for $12.75. The Chicharron was unbelievable. Super tender chicken with a nicely seasoned breadcrumb. Another must get if one likes fried chicken.
The Churrasco Con Salsa Chimichurri grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce with a side of rice and beans was $13.75 (BMH has made Chimmichuri Flank Steak before and love chimmichuri. The more the better). The chimmichuri was thich, fresh and really tasty. The steak was well prepared, however seemed smaller than we expected. When one things Churrasco, we think STEAK, not steak.
The Chuletas Encebolladas O A La Jardinera center cut pork chops topped with onions or garden style for $12.75 was last to arrive at the table. Everyone was served and finally, a piping hot plate full of juicy, generously sized pork chop came out. There were covered with sliced onions and a side of pigeon peas rice. We loved this dish, had leftovers and we would return again for this one.
There are two main types of rice and beans, Arroz Blanco Y Habichuelas white rice and beans and Arroz Con Gandules spanish rice with green pigeon peas. We prefer the pigeon peas. Everyone loved the Tostones De Panapen breadfruit plantains (seasonal), Tostones De Platanos traditional green plantains and Maduros Tradicionales sweet plantains. You can not go wrong with these sides.
The Trifongo (different from mofongo) has mashed plantains with sweet plantains, yucca and regular plantains as well as pork or chicken inside. Trifongo and mofongo at Vejigante is unbelivable and we would go to Vejigante just for their trifongo and mofongo. In our opinion, one of their best dishes for $8.00.
The Pastellillos De Pollo, Res chicken or beef empanadas for $3.95 each filling was really good. Nice chicken and beef filling in the empanada dough. BMH has attempted Empanadas, but you can not beat the authentic ones.
Our friend’s Filete De Dorado A La Plancha grilled mahi-mahi filet in a light and parsley sauce for $18.75 was flavorful, however too dry. The mahi-mahi was overcooked, perhaps it was under the window too long while waiting for the entire table.
The Flan De Frieda house special friedo custard pie $4.75 was very thick and almost cheesecake like. The flan was not custardy as we have had before and in fact prefer our at home renditions (BMH’s Flan).
The Tres Leches three milk cake for $4.75 was unbelievable and a must get. Trust us.
At the end of our evening, we met one of the co-owners Vejigante Restaurant, Nivia Piña. She is a very elegant and friendly woman and wish Vejigante all the success. Over half of our table were Puerto Rican and appreciated the fun atmopshere, super friendly service (ask for Jesus) and latin music. We think Vejigante’s best entrees and dishes were the pork cutlet, trifongo, mofongo, chicarron de pollo and tres leches. We would return for these alone.