Jul 28, 2014

Bites Nearby: Cocina Latina Bar & Grill

Traditional Spanish Cuisine Enhanced By Favorites From South America, Caribbean

Bites Nearby: Cocina Latina Bar & Grill

Spain is only a few blocks away.

Located on Queens Boulevard, a few steps on the Kew Gardens side of Union Turnpike, Cocina Latina Bar & Grill has a complete tapas menu as well as variety of paellas, pork dishes and seafood in Spanish and Pan-Latino styles.

Let’s begin with the tapas or appetizers, which run from $7 to $10. Chorizo al Vino Tinto includes sausage sautéed with onion and a red wine sauce. The Tabla de Charcutería y Quesos is a board of cured meats and cheeses, while the Camarones Encocados are coconut shrimp with orange dipping sauce. The Costillitas de Cerdo includes slow-roasted, honey-glazed baby back ribs with cold slaw.

At $6, the Ensalada de Aguacate features avocado, lettuce, grapefruit and roasted beets in a house dressing. At the $10 level, the Ensalada de Pollo con Mango mixes chicken salad with mangoes, tomatoes and red peppers, while the Ensalada con Mariscos blends grilled shrimp, calamari and pineapple with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.

The lunch menu runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “Paella” at Cocina Latino means chicken, chorizo, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari and octopus in a special rice for $15. The Cubano sandwich ($8) has roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and mayonnaise in a Panini style. The Arroz con Pollo ($12) has a Puerto Rican taste with slow-roasted chicken in a secret sofrito sauce served with rice casserole, greens and sweet plantains.

The main entrees begin with Señor Bistec ($24), a T-bone steak sautéed with onions and mushrooms in a brandy sauce with mashed potatoes. The Camarones al Ajillo y Pimientos con Arroz Blanco ($18) features sautéed shrimp with garlic and fine-diced peppers in a white wine lemon sauce with white rice. Another interesting option is the Salmon al Horno Encrostado en Yuca ($20), which is a roasted salmon with yucca and plantains crusted in a grilled pineapple sauce.

All side orders cost $5, and they span the Latin palette: rice and beans, yucca cheese fries, green plantain tostones, sweet maduros plantains, tomato and avocado, grilled vegetables and plantain chips.

Cocina Latina also serves breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. El Don Juan ($9) is an omelet with sautéed chorizo and onions, topped with mozzarella cheese and home fries. The Tres Golpes ($7) has mashed mangú (a Dominican green plantain) that is layered with sautéed red onions with two fried eggs, fried cheese and grilled chorizo. The Huevos Rancheros ($8) come with corn tortillas fried lights, fried eggs with beans, tomato-chili sauce served with home fries. And due to its location across the street from Queens Criminal Court, the eatery also offers a $7 breakfast entree called “Jury Duttie” or a choice of pancakes or waffles with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit.

Address: 125-22 Queens Boulevard.

Phone: 718-577-9800.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, open for dinner only; Happy Hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Specials: Home delivery and an event space for corporate or private affairs.

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