Written by Danielle Oteri
“You’re probably thinking, I’m up sh*t’s creek, I’ve never been north of 96th Street.”— In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda
New Yorkers are often shocked when they realize how far north Manhattan actually extends. If you think you’ve reached the edge of your urban earth at The Cloisters, consider the fact that there’s still more than a mile of Manhattan to its north. Really.
Dyckman Street draws the official line between Washington Heights and Inwood. It’s also a nice illustration of our city as an ever-evolving stage for new communities to grow and transform. That story is always best told with food.
While by no means complete, here’s my short list:
- Albert’s House of Mofungo (4762 Broadway) Right on the corner of Dyckman and Broadway, Albert’s is open 24 hours. The menu is hard-core Dominican comfort food. In addition to, of course, mofungo, there’s a buffet with platanos, roast pork and chicken, grilled shrimp, and yucca. Giant flat-screens hover in every corner making sure you don’t miss a moment of the Yankees game. Equally at home here are post-church families of ten-plus and off-duty cab drivers and cops. The food won’t win any awards, but you’ll always go home full and satisfied.
- La Sala 78 (111 Dyckman) La Sala was opened in May 2007 by two neighborhood kids done good. They decided to pool their talents and open a sandwich shop/art gallery that they feel is representative of the “New Inwood.” In addition to fresh tossed salads, La Sala serves all of its panini and pressed wraps with a side of mixed greens and the option to add avocado to anything. It supports local artists and hosts open mic nights and poetry slams.
- Street carts Lunchtime on Dyckman is the best time to check out the street food. Fried tacos, grilled Mexican corn with crema, cotija cheese, cayenne, and a piragua (Puerto Rican snow cone) will set you back a grand total of $6.
- Il Sole (229 Dyckman) When you’re getting tired of Caribbean flavors, head to Il Sole. Its Italian menu is simple and satisfying. I’m a big fan of the mussels and the people watching. With a wide open interior and sidewalk area, great lighting, and affordable menu, this is a great first-date spot.
- Mama Sushi (237 Dyckman) I admit that I haven’t yet tried Mama Sushi, but I hear from my peeps at the dog run that it’s a must-try. The chef has created a completely unique palette of Dominican style sushi. Watch out Sushi Samba!
- Mamajuana (247 Dyckman) This is the most stylish and upscale spot on Dyckman Street. It also has a great night scene and is a regular hangout for many of the Yankees. My stalking aside, (Derek, call me!) the food is fantastic! The menu is a sophisticated fusion of Latin standards with New American techniques. The puerquito is perfect—crunchy on the outside, tender, not too fatty but fatty enough. The yucca mash is its perfect mate.
In summer, order a big pitcher of Sangria and sit outside in the large sidewalk seating area. In winter, you’ll feel cozy and warm in the Spanish style wooden interior with a roaring fire in the open oven. Mamajuana is a gem that’s more than worth the shlep uptown. Oh, and if you haven’t already guessed, it’s owned by the same folks as Mama Sushi.
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