I have not until now actually dined in a restaurant in El Barrio (first time for everything right?) mainly because, there really wasn’t a reason to,(other than one of the many “cuchifritos”) except from taco food trucks in the summer.
While I was riding around in East Harlem on 116th Street I rode pass Boca Prime and thought to myself “I never sat down in a real restaurant in El Barrio” (mainly due to the lack thereof ) save for the mob owned Italian restaurants back in the day.
I returned a week later on a Friday Indian Summer Night to have dinner, (against my better judgement) thinking….at least I can now say that I ate in that neighborhood. Riding my e-bike from Lenox Ave to East 116th Street, and I quickly arrived at Boca Prime, which bills itself as a steak house. This place has the most ungracious and unprofessional staff. After waiting at the threshold to be seated for about 15 mins (not one of the staff members inside or outside looked busy at all) with none of the staff attending to me, I walked inside and sat myself down at a table. I pulled out my laptop to take notes of this sham of a restaurant on 116th Street.
When the order taker “Laura” finally offered me a menu (which was for an unreasonable amount of time) I ordered the garlic shrimp appetizer, the grilled pork chops and a glass of below decent grade Sauvignon Blanc. Waiting for my dinner to arrive, I nursed my horrible glass of white wine and picked at the sorry tasting watered down garlic lemon sauce shrimp, which was not appetizing at all.
After what seemed like an eternity, my grilled pork chop arrived, and I just got a weird feeling sweeping over me.
While the dish didn’t look so bad visually, when I cut a piece of the chop with my steak knife (which was more than a bit difficult) and put it in my mouth, I immediately regretted my decision to do so.
The chop was dry inside (was frozen for too long) and tasted like weak cardboard smothered in passion fruit sauce (the sauce was the only good thing about this meal), and the vegetables was bland. The Yucca mash potatoes tasted like it was quickly defrosted, and the texture appeared dull.
I pondered when was the last time I had a such a horrible meal in a restaurant (if you want to call it that) and couldn’t recall any as bad as this. I could not in any sort of good faith recommend that anyone eat there. The service is beyond substandard, in fact they behave like their doing you a favor. The food is substandard along with the wine, and the only reason it’s still operating is due to the young locals drinking and Hookah smoking trying to out pose each other.
I simply could not eat, and drink this garbage and did not finish the meal. Being the gentleman that I am, I asked them to pack up the remaining food (which was practically all of it) and asked for my check. I received a bill with one amount on it, no tax info at all, and the guy told me the “tip” was included in the amount, but no info on how much! 10-15-20%? A wave of distrust washed over me, and I got out of that grace forsaken place.
I Rate Boca Prime Zero Stars on all fronts. I gave the food to the first homeless person I could find, as to not feel like throwing it in the garbage.