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Review: Jibaritos at La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Jul 13, 2011 8:30PM

Where do you get your jibaritos? WTF is a jibarito? Where is the bread? What is the filling? Why do you ask so many questions? We recently visited Cocina De Galarza (named Cocina Boricua on their sign) at Fullerton and Western to give their jibarito a try.

A jibarito is a Chicago original. First introduced at the Borinquen Restaurant in the 90s (which we've discussed on the site before), the jibarito is a Puerto Rican influenced sandwich that substitutes fried plantains for bread and contains spiced meat, cheese, and vegetables. Delicious, right? Even Graham Elliot jumped on board with a jibarito at Grahamwich.

Bucktown's La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza is a little spot on Fullerton tucked between Western and Artesian, and boy do they serve up a solid jibarito. The d├ęcor is as if you stepped into your grandmother's house, but as with any restaurant, you can safely gauge the place by the fact that there are always occupied tables. The plantains are fried crisp but not greasy. The pork is tender and spicy. The traditional steak is a little less tender, but gives a good texture to differentiate from the soft inner plantain between the crisp, fried outside.

Served with lettuce, cheese, and mayo, the jibarito at La Cocina Boricua is hefty and could easily be shared between two people, or reserved for reheating at home. It also comes with a side of beans and rice that you won’t need on your first pass, but will make a nice accompaniment when you eat the remainder at home later.

La Cocina Boricua is a family-run joint, so expect friendly, if not fast, service. It’s a little dim inside, which will be a welcome respite from the July sun. If you’re out in the market for a fried plantain sandwich, or want to try one for the first time, La Cocina is a friendly spot to get your jibarito on.

La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza is at 2420 West Fullerton Avenue.