The first time I went to Rincon Criollo, located at 40-09 Junction Boulevard in Corona, I was in a bad mood. Typical cranky teenager stuff. My parents picked me up from a terrible day at work and during the car ride I was on the brink of tears (I’m dramatic from time to time).
We finally get there, there was a line out the door. Literally outside. Which just added to my mood. But also meant it was a popular place! We put our name on the list and waited. I hadn’t really eaten that day, and it was the middle of the summer so it was hot. I was overall uncomfortable and wanted to eat and then go straight home.
We finally made our way inside (the line was going by surprisingly quick) and we got to even sit at the bar. Suddenly, there was a group of grown men who began to sing happy birthday as they approached a table near the front of the restaurant. One of them had a funny hat on and, while they were serenading, this particular waiter went so hard and danced all around the birthday boy. His hands were in the air and he literally was dancing like no one was watching, and he looked like he was having so much fun doing it!
This brought a huge smile to my face; it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. This just showed me that the employees of Rincon Criollo really care about their customers, and wanted everyone to have a nice, fun time. I have loved this place ever since.
If you look around the room, there are pictures of famous Cuban icons such as singers Celia Cruz and Jon Secada. There is also a spray-painted picture of Guy Fieri from “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” (I’m obsessed, guilty pleasure) on the wall! Which means he has visited this place and filmed here!
According to Rincon Criollo’s website, this family-run restaurant has been here in Queens for the past thirty-four years, and is a very popular place in the area.
Not only is the staff unbelievably friendly, but also the food is amazing. This authentic Cuban place has me thinking about their Ropa Vieja all the time.
Ropa Vieja translates to “old clothes” in English, because the shredded meat looks like torn up clothing. Ropa Vieja is a Cuban dish consisting of stewed, shredded beef and vegetables cooked together. Their Ropa Vieja is served in a tomato sauce with rice and black beans on the side. The way they suggest you eat the dish is you mix the rice and beans together, take a fork full of that, and then grab some meat at the end of your fork. It’s a lot, but the combination is perfect. It’s almost tangy because the meat is cooked in a tomato sauce. It’s so interesting and so filling.
Interestingly enough, here is a video on the Food Network’s website from “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.” In this video, the co-owner, Rudy Acosta, is showing Guy how they make Ropa Vieja! So watch it to find out how they make it step-by-step. They add an unusual ingredient that even surprised Guy.
Rincon Criollo has other amazing items on their menu such as their Pechuga Empanizada which is a breaded chicken cutlet. You should always squeeze lime on your chicken cutlet! It enhances the flavor.
To end your meal at Rincon Criollo, I suggest getting the Flan de Coco, which is coconut flan. It’s SO good, not overly sweet or anything. They also have a regular flan, but the coconut version is so much better.
Here is another clip of “Diner’s Drive Ins and Dives” from the Food Network’s website of how they make Arroz Con Pollo!
Thank you for reading this post about my favorite Cuban place in Queens. Come check out Rincon Criollo in Corona! It’s conveniently located right next to the Junction Blvd 7 train station.
Cuban food lovers: Where do you like to get Cuban food in Queens? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!