Mofongo. Besides having the best name in all of cookery (and the best aka, fufu de plátano), this mutt of a dish most closely associated with Puerto Rico is just damned delicious. And on the weekends, Jimmy’z Kitchen, a tiny eatery at 1542 Alton Road in South Beach, serves it right.
Jimmy is an Irish-Cuban-American who grew up in Puerto Rico eating mofongo, a mashed mound of fried plantains, garlic, spices, and pork cracklins. He opened his restaurant in May 2007 and soon his Puerto Rican friends demanded he give them a taste of home. Being a nice guy, he obliged. Now Puerto Ricans across Miami know where they can get their fix every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Jimmy says the dish is too labor intensive to serve daily). With fellow Boricuas manning the mortar and pestle in Jimmy’s Kitchen’s kitchen, they know they are in good hands.
Now, I’m far from being a Mofongo Aficionado (is there a more coveted title?), but my mother and aunt, Puerto Ricans through and through, both give Jimmy’z shrimp mofongo the seal of approval. My favorite version so far is the mojo pork, which is a plate of tender, tangy paradise. Jimmy’z also serves mofongo with fried pork (the classic), chicken, Mahi Mahi, and tofu. Score one for the vegetarians.
Tucked into a small shopping center, Jimmy’z has a strong local customer base in South Beach but has otherwise stayed under the radar. That may change come December, when a second, 110-seat location opens in Midtown on 28th and North Miami Avenue. Jimmy says he may offer mofongo every day of the week at the new location. For now, though, Jimmy’z mofongo remains yet another reason to thank The Big Electron it’s Friday.
1542 Alton Road, South Beach