Passaic, NJ 07055
- Cost: $
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Alcohol: None
- Parking: Street, Metered
- Take Out: Yes
July 13, 2013
Update (2015) – El Mamut has reopened down the street from it’s original location (22 Broadway).
Update (Feb 2014) – El Mamut is temporarily closed. I’m told they plan to reopen in a new location.
If you’ve already tried one of New Jersey’s over-the-top Brazilian sandwiches (like those from Kearny’s Hamburgão), how about a crazy Peruvian sandwich?
One of the more heart unhealthy, delicious sandwiches I’ve eaten is served at El Mamut, a tiny Peruvian café and lunch counter in downtown Passaic. Yes, Peruvian cuisine can be very healthy, if you stick to the seafood ceviches. Peruvian food can also be downright decadent. This is the place to indulge in Peruvian sandwiches and snacks heavy on meat, fat and salt.
El Mamut serves breakfast daily (closed Tuesdays.) On weekends, you can order traditional Peruvian comfort soups (sancochado – meat and root vegetables, caldo de gallina – chicken (hen)) and stews (cay-cau – tripe and vegetable, chanfanita – cow lung). Nothing on El Mamut’s menu costs more than $7.
Try one of the signature Sandwichs [sic]. The “Especial” is a large soft bun filled with thick slices of fresh roasted pork, blood sausage, sliced yams and pickled red onions – an entirely new flavor combination for me. Add some of the rocoto pepper sauce served on the side for a very spicy kick. The “Wooly Mammoth” name and logo might be a nod to the size of all of El Mamut’s sandwiches, which include a pork rind sandwich and a hamburger topped with egg, bacon and cheese. Snacks include salchipapa (fried hot dog slices over french fries) and meat filled empanadas. The menu also features desserts and very popular fruit smoothies (including papaya, mango, mamey, lull, passion fruit and guanabana).
Passaic County is home to the largest Peruvian population in New Jersey and dozens of Peruvian eateries. This small restaurant just off Main Avenue fills up quickly. The line of people waiting for a seat on Saturdays often goes out the door. Be patient, tables turn quickly. Spanish helps, but is not necessary.
Passaic, NJ 07055