Ever since opening on June 30, Carlito's Cocina has received tons of rave reviews. They're the only known spot in Portland that serves Puerto Rican food (with perhaps one other spot in the area otherwise doing so).
Karlo, the owner, was born in Puerto Rico. He's worked all over the U.S., finally landing in Portland.
The signature dish here is mofongo, also Puerto Rico's national dish. Mashed green plantains, meat or veggie of choice, and sauce. To get a more complete experience, I got two orders of mofongo.
The Smoked Pork Masitas Mofongo ($9) features marinated pork shoulder which is smoked, then fried. The result: crunchy, flavorful pieces of meat that pair well with the mojo de ajo sauce.
|Smoked Pork Masitas Mofongo (chunks of pork)|
I also couldn't pass up the Chicharrones de Pollo (Fried Chicken) Mofongo ($9). The fried chicken gets soggy when left out over time, but again, awesome flavors.
|Chicharrones de Pollo Mofongo|
The green plantains kept it a savory experience, basically staying similar to mashed potatoes.
If I had to pick one, the pork was the most impressive. For vegetarians, there is a vegetarian option using local fresh produce.
They also appear to have a habanero oil at the pickup window. Of course, the panda had to try that for science. Very flavorful, with noticeable (but not overwhelming) back-end heat.
Portland Mercado continues to bring an impressive food lineup to Portland. I highly recommend Carlito's Cocina if you want a taste of Puerto Rico. 9/10