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Michelle Ng

Douglas Rodriguez Restaurants

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I remember a while ago in Puerto Rico eating at a great restaurant where Douglas Rodriguez was the chef. I can't remember the name though I'm sure I will as soon as I post this. Is he still involved with any restaurants down there or is he totally a New Yorker now? And if he has left his restaurants behind what is their status now?

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I dont recall that one. I do however remember this amazing, very pricey place called Marisol in Old San Juan, which had a female chef and served incredible food. I think she was an award winning CIA graduate. Heavy focus on seafood and imported ingredients.

Chef Marisol Cuisine

302 Cristo

725-7454

Having trouble finding a review or website for it though.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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Jason, you could certainly get the impression from looking online that Douglas Rodriguez is still at Patria -- it looks like nobody has bothered to update that site during this decade. He left Patria a couple of years ago, however, to open Chicama, and now Pipa, in the ABC Carpet space. His old sous-chef, Andrew DiCataldo, is now chef at Patria.


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It's been a long time since we've been back. I was not a fan of Patria and would not have looked up Rodriguez' restaurant. Marisol rings a bell. The last time I was there I read an article on  the chefs, most of whom were doing "nueva cucina." I recall she was mentioned.

We a couple of good meals at Chayote. The chef was a fiend of my brother-in-law and had worked or done a stage with Robuchon at some point in his life. The food was pretty interesting and on the whole fairly successful in terms of adapting outside recipes to native ingredients and native recipes to ingredients recently available on the island. The clientele seemed to be a mix of tourists and sophisticated locals. On the whole it catered to the locals, who were a regular and stable base of customers. The big minus was that it didn't match the island image I wanted. ;)

I think it's no longer open. My favorite was La Casita Blanca far off in a nontouristy not so classy residential neighborhood. It had some good traditional food in an unsophisticated setting.  All in all, the success of my trips was measured by how many cuchifritos I could come by that weren't sodden with grease. Generally I couldn't wait to change my clothes before making a beeline for the huts out by Boca de Congrejos. I'll bet they may no longer be  there now that the road is paved.


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Douglas Rodriguez used to own Aquarela located at the El San Juan in Isla Verde.  In spite of the numerous praises about this restaurant, it closed down in six months because many found it too "bizarre".

In San Juan, if you're looking for that type of food, there is Parrot Club.  It's located at Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan.  Their signature dish is the tuna with rum orange sauce.  I would recommend Parrot Club if you're looking for Nuevo Latino cuisine.  However, I've noticed that the last time I was there, their food was not as good as a few years ago.

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Casita Blanca in Barrio Obrero!  What a great place.  Good homestyle cooking.  I like the Metropol restaurants, too, especially the waiters straight out of the 1950's.  Another place like this would be the El Jibarito restaurants with traditional favorites.  El Pescador is another, La Bombonera yet another.

Chef Marisoll is still going strong in Old San Juan.  The Parrot Club is great fun, but the food can be hit or miss these days.  The owner of Parrot Club just opened Dragonfly across the street where Bistro Gambaro used to be, haven't been there, but people like it for Latino Asian fusion - very much about the scene, however.  

Aquarela was there and then gone in about an instant.  It got all kinds of write-ups, but its location in the very back corner of the San Juan put it off the beaten track.  The Palm is in that space now with a big sign out front to make sure no one misses it back there.    

Chayote has done very well in the Condado, and another place there called Pikayo I would also highly recommend.  I am also a fan of Ramiro's and Compostela for Spanish cuisine.

There is good street food in San Juan like cuchifritos, pinchos, and empanadillas. Aside from beachside joints in Pinones and the food stalls near Luquillo, I like to go to Plaza Mercado in Santurce either for Friday happy hour, or on weekend mornings for produce, coffee, and batidas.  Also, good street food at winter league baseball games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium or basketball games at Clemente Arena.

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Jason, you could certainly get the impression from looking online that Douglas Rodriguez is still at Patria -- it looks like nobody has bothered to update that site during this decade. He left Patria a couple of years ago, however, to open Chicama, and now Pipa, in the ABC Carpet space. His old sous-chef, Andrew DiCataldo, is now chef at Patria.

Rodriguez has opened a restaurant in Scottsdale AZ (see today's WSJ) - and - according to a NYT article this week - he will be opening a new restaurant in Miami very soon. We used to dine at Yuca frequently. It was very imaginative and a lot of fun - high priced compared to the run of the mill Cuban restaurant in Miami - but certainly inexpensive compared to lots of other places. Robyn

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