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La Cocina de Marcia

Rotisserie chicken served at La Cocina de Marcia

Rotisserie chicken served at La Cocina de Marcia restaurant on West Merrick Road in Freeport.
(Sept. 14, 2010) Credit: Michael E. Ach

No matter what the weather in Freeport might be, a tropical sun perpetually shines at La Cocina de Marcia. You can credit owner Marcia Beltre and her husband, Irving Ramirez, affable hosts, both. Their casual, tastefully decorated new place balances a brisk takeout business with leisurely in-house dining.

Although the restaurant's name translates as "Marcia's Kitchen," the person cooking the mostly Dominican repertoire is Marcia's talented mother, Angela Beltre.


ISLAND PARADISE

Beltre's chicken soup - Dominican penicillin - was loaded with bone-in poultry and vegetables. Sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) came off as equally flavor-intense, afloat with crab and lobster claws as well as shrimp.

Bollitos di yucca (cheese-filled cassava fritters) proved the definition of comfort. And I relished the sprightly seafood salad, with accents of citrus and cilantro.

One night, dinner was a combination plate of barbecued pork ribs and rotisserie roasted chicken. The meat was beautifully burnished, spice-infused to the bone. Another meal featured pernil, delectable roasted pork with pan juices.

I'd be hard pressed to find a better bargain than the delicate whole baked red snapper, at $12.95. Lobster, cut up and served over saffron rice, was another steal, at $17.95.

While the restaurant doesn't yet serve wine, fresh fruit and vegetable juices (such as carrot and orange) are squeezed to order.

To conclude, there was a moist tres leches cake, sweet coconut pudding and a lovely, trembling flan.


ALMOST PARADISE

Flaky-crusted empanadas - one stuffed with chicken and ham, another with beef - should have been served at a hotter temperature. A fine grill-pressed Cuban sandwich with pork, ham, pickles and cheese needed something spicy (mustard, perhaps) to achieve star quality. Beef stew was delicious but lukewarm; so, too, was the savory pork mofongo, pieces of roasted pork mixed with seasoned mashed plantains.


BOTTOM LINE

Food here can take awhile to arrive. Relax; it's worth the wait. Especially at these prices.

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