If there was ever a restaurant that was seemingly acting like it did not give a rat's ass about whether people walked in to dine there...it would be El Nuevo Portal. I've lived in my neighborhood for almost three years and it's the exact type of place you walk by each and every day and never even notice it is there. But my husband, Olly...he saw it. In fact, this place become such an obsession with him, it got to the point where he would alway suggest we eat at "that place on Smith...you know with the window...and the neon sign" because no one could ever recall the name of the restaurant...and yet, I always knew what place he was referring to. I always shot him down with a vengeance. When you live in New York, there are just too many amazing places to eat at and lest you waste a meal on a possible subpar experience is something I am not emotionally equipped to deal with. And from the outside, El Nuevo Portal looked like it would be nothing to write home about.
How embarrassingly wrong I was. Since giving in to Olly and picking up take out one Sunday afternoon, I have gone back twice and just yesterday, I was ruminating about how amazing the breakfast must be. The food is ridiculous. And I cannot believe it has taken me three years to eat at this little Dominican gem. We ordered simple. Chicken noodle soup, baked chicken, rice and beans. But there is crack in all of those dishes. Jenson called dibs on the soup and it was a mad race to the finish. He sat on my lap and for every bite of soup he took, I took three more. It was only fair. Olly and I vowed we would save some rice for next night's meal but that didn't happen in a huge way. The chicken is perfection. Not only do I owe El Nuevo Portal a huge apology, I have basically ceded (for the time being) all restaurant decision-making power to Olly...which cuts like a knife. And just like that, Jenson was taught the invaluable lesson to "never judge a book by its cover."
LOCATION: El Nuevo Portal, Brooklyn, NY