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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dinner at Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill of Fort Myers

Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill
is a restaurant in Fort Myers, FL serving food from Central America, specifically from Honduras. Rinconcito Catracho means little Honduran corner, and I will abbreviate the name of this restaurant as LG (Latin Grill). LG has been at this location for 2 and 1/2 years. It's owner, Christopher, chatted with me for a bit about the restaurant and it's fare. Most of the recipes used here are from his family in Central America. Everything that we tried here was made from "scratch", even the tortillas, but more on that later.

As you enter LG, the interior of the restaurant is basic though somewhat homey, made even more so being there a few days before Christmas. Should you just want to grab a light snack and a beverage, there is a pool and foosball table in the back should you feel so inclined.

My dining companion and I sampled a number of items from LG's dinner menu. The first were the pupusas. These are masa cakes that are usually stuffed with cheese along with any number of other things and cooked on a griddle. In this case we tried the the pupusas with chicken and cheese, jalapenos with cheese and locoro with cheese. Locoro is a vine that is widely grown in Central America. The buds and flowers of locoro are widely used as foods there. It has a sort of nutty, "green" flavor and was very good, as were the other versions of this dish, the masa blending perfectly with the cheese and other fillings. There were served with curtido, a condiment made from pickled red onion, beets and cauliflower. Curtido is a traditional Honduran accompaniment.

We split a baleada, which was a large wheat flour tortilla, about the size you would use for a burrito but a bit thicker. The inside of the baleada was smeared with mashed fried beans, made that much better with a heavy dose of lard. Avocado, carne asada, egg, queso duro and crema, the latter sort of like a runny sour cream were piled on top of the beans (the works).  The tortilla is then folded in half to make a semi circle. This was absolutely delicious and an unbelievable bargain at $2.95.

Pollo con tajadas was next. Tajadas are fried plantain or banana slices, in this case green bananas. The foundation of this dish, tajadas, were like banana chips. Not greasy at all and delicious. These were topped with a minimalist slaw of cabbage and carrots, a mild Honduran aioli made from chili de arbol among other ingredients (which was a family secret), fried chicken and curtido. This was another absolutely delicious dish, and I really liked the breading on the fried chicken (another tightly held family recipe).

On another visit we sampled the ceviche. It was good, though flavored very differently from the Caribbean and Peruvian ceviches I am used to. I think the difference here was the lack of aromatic vegetables and cilantro that are used heavily in the latter two regional cuisines. What was unusual was the portion size, which was easily twice that one normally gets in Southwest Florida.

We finished with the fish tacos which were to say the least, remarkable. This wonderful dish featured in house freshly made corn tortillas, lightly breaded tilapia, minimalist cabbage and carrot slaw, sweetened Honduran aioli, and curtido. The tacos are served with really good beans (again, heavy on the lard) and rice with peas, corn and Lima beans. All for $8.00. These are hands down the best fish tacos I have had east of the Mississippi.

If these great flavors are not enough for you they serve really good in house made salsas with either a tomatillo (hot) or chili de arbol (mild) base.

The owner of LG has tried to create a little corner of Honduras in Fort Myers. Not only has he succeeded, but has given all of us an opportunity to try wonderful, fresh and authentic cuisine that is nearly an unequaled combination locally of flavor, quality and price. I rarely rave about a restaurant to this degree but LG is a true gem and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I hope readers will eat here. LG will not disappoint.

That's that for another post on Forks.

Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill
2096 Beacon Manor Dr,
Foft Myers, FL 33907

All major credit cards accepted; Kid's meals served; Hours 9AM-10PM; breakfast, lunch and dinner served

Dining area, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Pool and foosball tables, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Papusas with curtido, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Baleada with beans, egg, carne asada, queso duro, avocado and crema, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Pollo con tajadas, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Tomatillo and chili de arbol salsas, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

Remarkable fish tacos with rice and beans, Rinconcito Catracho Latin Grill

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