With its chill atmosphere and great music, I am definitely a fan of Camaradas el Barrio (115th and
We started with the root and vine chips, which were a mix of yuca, battata and plantain. They were a bit too hard for my taste, and the radish sauce tasted like creamy ketchup. Not impressed, but still ate my fair share sans dip. The half platter finally arrives (after a very long wait, and much discussion over sold-out items). It must be noted that every time I go to this spot they are out of something, whether it be the veggie pastelillos or the new featured sangria. The consistency is definitely lacking.[The radish dip was a big disappointment. When we ordered, I expected spicy and creamy, not insipid clawing sweetness. Something akin to biting into a fresh radish, not Thousand Island dressing. To be fair, it did compliment the spicy yuca.]
This particular sampler, priced at $12.50 is a great deal for two, and the romantic setting makes it a great date item. The sampler includes a mix of four menu items, providing the opportunity to try a good chunk of Camaradas' offering. The pastelillos, which is a fried meat or vegetable patty similar to an empanada, was divine. It was fried just right and the filling was scrumptious. [I found them to be the most interesting item on the platter; The chorizo and shrimp skewers were enjoyable, but somewhat flat. Not much going on. The pastelillo filling on the other hand had a good mix of spices and begged for the deep frying.]
The chorizo (yes, I had a bite) was great, excellent [smoky] flavor and perfectly charred. Have you ever had fried mozzarella sticks? Here their called croquetas [and look more like McDonald's hash browns than mozz. sticks]. They did the job, but were very plain. However, they were accompanied by a perfectly well balanced garlic sauce that more than made up for it. [Plain? Even with the mild garlic sauce, they were like black holes of blandness.] If you're on the afore mentioned date, I’d pass on the sauce. The shrimp skewers - fantastic! What a way to cook a shrimp. They had a faint sweet and tangy flavor. Slightly charred, they came unaccompanied and didn't need a chaperon whatsoever.
Drinks? Red wine sangria of course. The taste is the refreshing combination of bite and juice. I am a fan of their sangria because it is a great deal and so home-grown. The fruit is undesirable, which is unfortunate because who doesn’t like a little wine infused orange. But the balance more than makes up for the repetitiveness of green apples. [The beer selection was also quite good. I accompanied my meal with a Brooklyn Six Points.]
Inconsistent service, a hit-and-miss menu, and picky vegetarians aside, Camaradas scores due to the decent priced menu, and unique ambiance. [I'd be a regular if I weren't moving. The atmosphere, sangria, and reasonable prices were enough to keep me going back. I only wish they hadn't been out of vegetable and chicken pastelillos, northern and southern alcapurrias, and chorizo croquetas. Mind you, this was 7pm on a weeknight.]
She said [He said] is a new feature where two or more Gourmetros eat out and discuss. In this case, it was Skip and Butter (our shiny new SpaHa correspondent) Have any recommendations? Let us know.