Restaurant Review: Estrella Latina

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Rating: ★★★★☆

My son and my little sister are both half Dominican, my sister’s dad is as Dominican as they come and finally there is me, a Puertorican that grew up among Dominicans. Over the span of my life, for a variety of reasons ranging from pleasure to business I have been to the Dominican Republic many, many times. I’m talking over 15 times!

Naturally I was interested when asked to join for Dominican food. Little did I know that in Corona, Queens I would discover a piece of the Caribbean this weekend. Though I haven’t been to the Dominican Republic in a couple of years now, for a couple of hours this past Sunday I felt like I was there.

Upon entry you are greeted with merengue music blasting on the speakers, a dim almost jungle like ambiance greets dinners at the door. Immediately to your left you see food dishes ready to be served by staff behind the counter. Should you continue to walk all the way to the rear of the establishment you will encounter the buffet area.

A variety of rice dishes, meats dishes and Dominican specialties such as platanos, tostones and sancochos greet you with a smile.

Once I packed my plate with nearly every rice dish, some bistec, lasagna, chicken and some maduros I returned to our table where I placed an order for the Dominican staple “chinola”, a delicious juice that is adored by Dominicans the world over. If I had to describe it I’d say it taste very close to guava juice.

During our stay we met a friend of my sister’s father, a politician, the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to Egypt. I thought that was weird, but it is a true story.

I felt the service here was pretty good, the servers were on top of things taking away dishes as necessary and filling our drinks often. I really loved the rice with gandules, the bistec (beef) was juicy and absolutely delicious. The chicken was dry, choke you dry, I took a bite of that and I was done. The tostones were cooked perfectly, but the sweet plantains were very greasy. There were a few seafood dishes that I thought were pretty good. Lasagna gets mixed reviews, it had an odd taste and we couldn’t tell what was in it, so I only ate the top cheesy layer. The kids had flan and other desserts, they seemed happy. Personally I’m not a fan of flan so I passed on dessert.

For a buffet style meal for 4 of us, including 2 rounds of drinks the total bill including the tip came out to about $80, reasonable considering the amount of food you get. If you like Spanish food and enjoy the Latino ambiance, you should definitely give this place a try. I’ll return here with the family again in the not so distance future.

Estrella Latina on Urbanspoon

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Angel Rodriguez is a U.S Air Force veteran, columnist, musician, MMA fighter/enthusiast, foodie, online and television personality best known for his appearance on the prime time network tv show Cook your ass off!

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