Bowls rule these days, from poke to acai to halal. Will Dominican be the next big surge?
Jonathan Romero first debuted his take on Dominican-style bowls at Punta Cana Dominican Grill, which he opened in Westbury in 2015. Last week, Romero opened a second spot in Huntington, and by the end of the summer is set to unveil a third in Rockville Centre.
Slow-cooked pork called pernil; carne guisada, aka beef stew; two kinds of traditional chicken stew, or baked or grilled chicken; garlic shrimp; and chicharron, or fried pork belly. These are spooned over a choice of rice (yellow or white) and beans (red or black), then topped with things such as plantains (maduros), yucca and avocado, plus sauces of varying heats. Bowls start at $8.25 and top out at $13 for oxtail, which is sold only on Fridays.
The Huntington iteration of Punta Cana is also frying up "more experimental empanadas," said Romero, including versions filled with mac-and-cheese and Nutella and bananas, all in flour tortilla shells. Four types of mofongo (fried plantains, $9 to $12) are also sold, as are salads and, for dessert, two kinds of flan, coconut and caramel. Beverages consist of juices and smoothies, plus so-called "cana splashes" such as limeade and morir soñando, a blend of milk, orange juice, vanilla and sugar for $4.
Romero, who grew up on Long Island but ate the foods of his native Dominican parents "every day, twice a day," is also finessing a vegan menu — with seasoned faux meat in lieu of beef for some dishes — which he hopes to roll out soon.
Punta Cana Dominican Grill is at 376 New York Ave. in Huntington, and opens daily at 11 a.m., except for Sundays, when it opens at noon. 631-546-1445. eatpuntacana.com.