I don’t know why it took us so long to get over to Sazón Criollo for lunch, but now that we have made it there, we’re going to be heading back really soon. Sometimes these little corner spots can be hit or miss, with semi-authentic and mediocre food, but there’s something about Sazón Criollo that we really dug.
The atmosphere at Sazón Criollo is pretty basic, but that’s not the reason that seasoned visitors from the neighborhood continue to support the place. To tell you the truth, it could be as simple as the beef and cheese pastelillo, which my wife and I both agreed was the best we have ever sampled, hands down. So often there is no meat, hardly an cheese, it’s dry, overcooked, and pretty tasteless. The exact opposite is true with Sazón Criollo. And for the most part, if a place can pull off a spectacular pastelillo, the feat should tell you a lot about the rest of the culinary offerings.
To mix it up, I went with The Cubano. Because I always go with The Cubano. Once again, there is an art to a good Cubano, and rarely does anyone do it right. There is either too much bread, too much fat, the meat (a sliver of turkey, ham, roast pork) is either skimpy and/or overcooked… the list goes on. While my Cubano was up to par with some of the best that I have ever tried, I was slightly disappointed that there was just a hint of mustard (should have been more for my taste), and there were no pickles… ack! The next time that I go, I’m going to ask for more mustard, and I might even bring some of my own pickles from Barrel + Brine, located a couple of blocks away. The melted cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo were all nicely proportioned.
As for my wife, she opted for the baked chicken, with yellow rice. The dish was pretty huge, and she ended up taking most of it home. What she did eat, she loved. She offered a bite to me, and it was super tender and moist, with crisped skin. Although there is hot sauce at Sazón Criollo, my wife always packs her own assortment, which she uses to doctor up these types of meals. It goes without saying, people who dig hot sauces have their favorites, and there’s no reason to not bring your own faves along. That said, she did not add any salt to the meal, which means that everything was perfectly salted. That is another sign of a great Spanish meal (or any meal for that matter). The roots of this particular meal hail from Basque Country.
To top off the meal, I order a large parcha (fruit drink), which is always an indulgence that I can’t pass up. This parcha was super sweet, which is exactly how I like it. This is something that requires somewhat of a sweet tooth – my wife doesn’t understand how I can drink it.
A couple of other things to note about the restaurant is that there is small step up for those in a wheelchair. This is a super fast meal, delivered to the table a couple of minutes after ordering from the counter. They play authentic music inside. The staff is neither friendly or rude, they are just there to serve you your food (but maybe that’s because we were newbies). It says that the bathroom is out of order, but that could be a way to curb people coming in off the street from using them. The serving portions are bountiful. The majority of the people that we saw walking in were not speaking English, which is always a good sign that you’ve come to the right place.
Sazón Criollo | 272 Hudson Street | Lower West Side – Buffalo, NY 14201 | (716) 381-9664 | Facebook | Home cooking