Despite being thoroughly Dominican, it is surprising that this new Bellflower walk-up restaurant puts New York in its name rather than the country. Perhaps the influx of Caribbean-descended folks that now make Los Angeles their home are mostly arriving via New York City, the undisputed hub of expats from the island nation.
In true nature to a Dominican-run bodega in New York, the menu veers all over the place with gyros, quesadillas, and wings all on offer, but a few categories make this a first of its kind in Los Angeles County, and a welcome respite for sure for all of those relocating from the east coast.
There is no shame in the occasional craving for some fast food. These junk food desires may come late at night, or maybe just for lunch. Thankfully in your city these meals do not have to lead you to a Burger King, since the junk food habits of many cultures exist here for all to enjoy. And along those lines, look no further than that namesake chimi ($6.50, above, short for chimichurri burger).
The thin beef patty always seems to be the least important ingredient on the sandwich. The special sauce of a chimi is salsa golf, a fancy way to say “mayo and ketchup.” The bread should always be pan de agua, and a decent pile of chopped cabbage is essential. Each chef will have their own way to make the sandwich their own, but the basic ingredients are usually the same.
While shredded meats and sauces have been going on patacones in the Dominican Republic for quite a while, it may have been in New York where the shop owners started following suit with their Venezuelan brothers and turning them into sandwiches of the same name. In a Dominican restaurant you always know the difference because the older, open-faced, dish still goes by the more common tostones or platano frito.
A patacón ($8.95, above and below) is a messy monster and probably pairs best with shredded pork. Tomato and lettuce mix with another liberal application of salsa golf, and since the plantain “bun” is firm be prepared for those things to slip out very quickly. This is not driving food.
New York Style Chimis & More opened about eight months ago, just as the pandemic was kicking into high gear in Southern California. Being somewhat new, their menu keeps evolving and you should look out for weekend specials like this past Sunday’s mangú con tres golpes (three hits), which will raise the heart rate of any homesick Dominican.
This specialty centers around mangú, a dish of boiled plantains that is mashed with butter and topped with sauteed vinegary onions. The “three hits” are a fried egg, fried cheese, and fried Dominican salami. It can be eaten at anytime of day but is especially popular for breakfast and hangover cures.
If there was a miss on the first visit, it would probably be the quipe ($2.50, above and below) which was far too dry to give proper dues to its Lebanese roots. Future meals will include fried empanadas instead. Other highlights of the menu include Dominican-style hot dogs that have cheese, bacon, corn, and more salsa golf, while mofonguito is another NYC-Caribbean mashup with roots in Puerto Rico.
Feeling like your heart could use a bit of clogging? Meet the mighty king of Dominican junk food that goes by the name yaroa. Traditionally this dish is made with plantains as well but a version with French fries has become just as popular. Don’t plan on using your fingers though, as this is more of a casserole by the time the meat of your choice, a thick layer of mozzarella, mayo and ketchup, and a squirt of nacho cheese are on there. Dame esa vaina!
New York Style Chimis & More, 17102 Clark Avenue, Bellflower.