La Morenita Restaurant Brings Dominican Fare to Clark-Fulton Neighborhood

click to enlarge Los Tres Golpes with empanadilla
Los Tres Golpes with empanadilla
When the Fish Shack and Grill packed up and moved across the street to a larger spot, its former home was quickly snatched up by a Dominican restaurant called La Morenita (3156 W. 25th St., 216-350-6633). The cheery little eatery, which has been open for about a month, serves breakfast, lunch and early dinner.

A full Dominican breakfast is no joke. Called “Los Tres Golpes” – or the three hits – the plate always contains fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami and mangú. Like Puerto Rican mofungu, mangú is made from plantains and are a staple of the cuisine. But unlike mofongo, which is boiled, mashed and fried plantains, mangú is boiled, mashed and seasoned with olive oil. It is traditionally garnished with pickled red onion.

A quick-serve heated display is filled with golden brown empandillas ($2.50) filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese, and tostones (8/$3.50), crunchy, creamy and salt-gilded fried plantains. La Morenita also dishes up the sweet variety of plantains (6/$3.50), platanos maduros, which come deeply caramelized and buttery soft.

Larger plates, which come with rice and beans, are built around roasted pork ($11), beef stew ($10), roasted chicken ($10) and whole fried fish ($17).

Flavorful, hearty soups like chicken ($10) and seafood ($12.50), both served with a side of rice, join even more substantial stews like mondongo ($11) and sancocho ($11). Mondongo, available only on Saturdays, is a rich tripe stew with tomato, carrots and potatoes, while the sancocho, available only on Sundays, is a celebratory dish filled with various meats and root vegetables.

To drink, there are shakes made from passion fruit and the eminently refreshing Morir Soñando ($4), a sweet, citrusy mix of orange juice, whole milk, ice and sugar.