Sherman's Food Adventures: Polito's Latin Café

Polito's Latin Café

Not to repeat myself once again (but I'll do it anyways), but when people claim that Vancouver has a diverse eats, I would like to disagree.  Yes, it is true we have a wealth of Asian cuisine (and very good I might add), however, we aren't very diverse beyond that.  In fact, we have a lack of everything else including Latin eats.  We do have some Mexican restaurants, where only some of them are even remotely authentic and/or good.  All the other Central/South American countries are either poorly or not even represented in the Vancouver food scene.

So when Hilda suggested that Diana and I meet up at the newly opened Polito's Latin Café on the Coquitlam/PoCo border, we were both intrigued and excited.  We started off with some Papusas including the Revuelta (with pork, beans, cheese and sweet pepper) and the Queso (with cheese & zucchini).  Unlike some versions I've had in the past, these were not heavy nor greasy.  They were fairly "light" for a papusa.  Naturally, I personally enjoyed the meat version more as there was more inherent robust flavour.  Loved the cheese in both as they were not the greasy North American type.  These were served with a side of spicy slaw and a mild tomato sauce.  There was no doubt that the crunchy and spiced slaw helped elevate the impact of the dish.

Next up, we moved onto some Tacos including Al Pastor, Carne Asada, Pollo and Veggie.  These were neatly constructed and appealing in appearance.  Sometimes, Tacos don't look so pretty, but these were good.  I thought the Pollo (pulled chicken, cilantro, cream & pico de gallo) was the best of the bunch as it was well-seasoned while being sufficiently tender.  Although it looked dry, it really wasn't.  I found the meats in both the carne asada and al pastor to be on the drier side, but that is pretty much par for the course with these 2 types of meats.  They were still good though with nice caramelization and meatiness.  The veggie was surprisingly good especially with the addition of caramelized plantain.

Onto the bigger plates, we tried the Bandeja Polito's with well-done chopped rib eye steak, beans, rice topped with a fried egg, maduro fried plantain, guacamole and pico de gallo.  With similar elements as a cheesesteak, the meat was crispy and well-seared.  Hence, there was a smoky caramelized flavour.  This would've went well with a hand-made tortilla (add $1.00).  We also had the Mar Y Tierra with a marinated skirt steak topped with grilled prawns.  On the side, there was rice, black beans and pico de gallo.  The steak itself was not super tender, but I found it sufficient and still tasty.

As for our desserts, we had the Tres Leche and Chocolate Flan.  They looked rather ordinary, but man, they were very good.  Light and fluffy, the tres leche cake was purposefully sweet (sometimes, this dessert is too sweet).  The flan was nicely smokey and caramelized where it sat atop a moist chocolately cake.  As you can tell, we enjoyed our meal at Polito's.  Sure, some things could've been a bit better, but overall, the food was appealing and definitely a nice break from all the Asian food we eat all the time (yes, #firstworldproblems).

The Good:
- Super friendly people
- Quality food
- Love those desserts

The Bad:
- Meats could be a bit more tender and moist
- Menu could be larger


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