Paterson, NJ 07502
- Opened: 2006
- Cost: $$
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Alcohol: BYO
- Parking: Street
- Take Out: Yes
February 25, 2018
Paterson is one of the best places in Jersey to find the widest variety of global cuisines, all in close proximity. From Italian to Middle Eastern, Peruvian to Caribbean, every neighborhood of the the Silk City offers multiple restaurants serving the diverse communities that call Paterson home. When my fellow food traveller from Eat the World NYC invited me to join him there last month for lunch, we headed for the Totowa section neighborhood, west of the Passaic River. El Sabor De Mi Barrio occupies a corner storefront on bustling Union Avenue, a commercial street dotted with Latin American Restaurants and Bangladeshi shops, near both a Catholic Church and a Mosque.
While looking a bit run down from the outside, inside, the restaurant’s clean and comfortable dining room has about fifteen tables, some counter seating and multiple television screens.
El Sabor de Mi Barrio serves all the Peruvian favorites you would expect in a town with many Peruvian food options – from ceviche to chaufa (fried rice) to tallerínes (stir fried noodles). Portions are substantial. We started with yuca a la hauncaina, which arrived with a smooth and barely spicy pepper cream sauce. I realized had never tried a Peruvian tamal. The versions here (chicken or pork) are hefty – larger than the Costa Rican tamales I’m used to – with plenty of cornmeal masa and large chunks of meat wrapped in the green banana leaf. That could have been lunch, but of course we ordered more food.
The aji de gallina – shredded chicken in a yellow aji pepper sauce made with ground walnuts – here is very good. The lomo saltado (stir fried beef) is served with both rice and fries. The star of our lunch, however, was the ceviche and jalea mixta – a large plate of citrus-marinated seafood alongside a heaping portions of fried shellfish. The ceviche‘s spicy “leche de tigre” broth nicely cuts the heaviness of the deep fried, lightly breaded nuggets. There are thick slices of Peruvian sweet potatoes for good measure. If only we had brought cold beer.