I am addicted to Groupon.
I get a daily email from them with great deals on stuff to do, spa services and even restaurant deals. In a city with so many food options, one can only risk going broke for the sake of new restaurants every so often and for me, Groupon has helped me afford my newest foodie adventures. More times than not, the groupon is a great deal.
I saw that Groupon had a great deal for a spot thats pretty popular in my neighborhood: Cocina Latina on Queens Boulevard. i did some research on it and Yelp’ed it… just to be sure. It was given 3 stars out of 5. I hate when that happens. Usually if i see a 4, the place is awesome, if i see a 3 its a crap shoot between awesome and horrid. So this one was gonna have to be a shot in the dark. I armed myself with my brutally honest eating companion paul, AKA DJ Sabor.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I was late, but the place was EMPTY on a Friday Night! I was already disappointed. While i must say its really nice to have dinner and actually be able to HEAR what the person across from me is saying!
We had a 50% off groupon so we stretched out cheapness to the limits and ordered La Parillada de la Casa. I let Paul choose and he chose the dish with all the meat. Men! La Parillada de la casa came with a salad, 2 chicken kebabs, 2 ribs, 2 salchichas, 1 paper thin skirt steak, 1 chorizo and 2 sweet plantains. An Atkins diet’s dream… oh my poor arteries.
They started us off with a plate of plantain chips that came with a wonderful green dipping sauce. If this was a sign that our meal was going to be awesome…i was excited. These chips were great. (but then again, HOW can you fuck up CHIPS!?!)

And then, because it was friday… and because I skipped my AA meeting, i ordered a passion fruit mojito… that was lacking in the passion… but loaded with ice. And it was small. I have gone to fancier restaurants and paid the same price for bigger and better drinks (i.e. Cuba AWESOME mojitos!)
After Paul and i devoured the plate of chips, we were given this salad.
TO SHARE. Luckily for me, Paul is not a “vegetable person” as he likes to say… so i got to enjoy most of the salad… apparently Paul eats tomatoes and those are fruit…Whoever wants to smack Paul has to get in line.Shortly after we, i mean I ate our salad, the main course came out. And i was sorely disappointed.
Paul, the comedian, INSISTED that the hot thing in the middle was to cook our food…because apparently the food looks raw to him…
and he fiddled with this poor piece of chicken on the NO LONGER hot little pot on our dish… but he still insisted that he charred his chicken… I have learned that its best to just say “Okay Paul” and move on.
The chorizo was edible… but I really HATE when i get served Kielbasa and they call it Chorizo… I can recall two times in my life when i had REAL dark red and spicy chorizoCocina Latina failed to serve the real deal…
Then there were the ribs… which were decent- texturally…but the sauce they used was odd… and really really sweet. Not very apetizing in my opnion. There were also two ramekins of mystery sauces… one tasted like Teriyaki (wtf) and the other was sweet and sour (again, wtf?).
The chicken kebabs were bland and dry… the vegetables were dry… and bland.
The salchichas were okay… the sweet plantains were good… a bit mushed but stiill good. The skirt steak??? Paper thin. Dry. and served with a butter knife.
When we were finished picking at our plate of mediocre meats, the waitress asked if we wanted dessert. We said why not. You’ll notice there are no more photos… because dessert choices were skimpy…
We asked for “Mama’a Flan” and she said they ran out… i looked around and saw no one else in the restaurant… so my thoughts were “Its either amazing and the other two diners ate them all” or “they dont get asked for dessert often and arent prepared”. Paul, being a smart ass asked if the place was Cuban. The waitress said it was a bit of everything and Paul blurted “then whose mama made the flan?” The poor waitress couldnt answer and Paul very seriously said that it was deceitful to say mama made the flan if mama has no definitive nationality…
We asked if they had tres leches and were immediately denied… they didnt even have it on the menu- what kind of shit is this? They had flourless chocolate cake but by that time we were ready to leave.
Good thing we used a groupon. I couldnt fathom paying full price at this place. Couldn’t fathom it. But thats the great thing about groupon! And never underestimate the ratings on! They are helpful!
Cocina Latina Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
Ever had an awful food experience at a restaurant??