Discover Delights At La Hacienda
If you haven’t stopped at 1624 New York Ave. since the days it was J&J Southside, pencil in a visit to La Hacienda and check out what you’ve been missing.
A cozy, inviting space and a beacon for walk-up traffic along New York Avenue, owner/chef Angel Sorto and co-owner Jose Reyes have had the place for eight years. Before that, it had been J&J Southside pizza since 1934.
Today, the décor evokes the haciendas – Spanish for estate and most commonly, plantations – of Central America, hence the tree-styled beams in the center of the room and the animal paintings.
At their combined sit-down restaurant, bar and delicatessen, La Hacienda offers cuisine that is fresh and flavorful. Portions are generous, and the prices can’t be beat whether you hang around or take your meal on the go.
There’s only one place to start – the stellar Mariscos soup ($19.95), one of several Spanish soups available daily. It’s served most popularly in a delicate cream broth that only serves to enhance the fresh ingredients spilling over the edge of the bowl. Those include: tender shrimp, fresh clams, flaky tilapia and a half-lobster with sweet, tender meat in the shell and claw. They complete their stew-styled specialty with broccoli, yams, sliced peppers and, for good measure, a hard-boiled egg. Bring your appetite.
But if turf is more your style, their rotisserie chicken ($10) is next on your must-have list. Smoked in Sherry wood and roasted for about two hours, the result – fork-tender chicken that’s practically falling off the bone and bursting with woody, smoky goodness – is well worth the wait, and earns a spot on the short list of some of the best chicken in Huntington. It’s served alongside spicy Peruvian jalapeno ahi dipping sauce that certainly is not for the faint-hearted Foodie. Angel explains that many folks swing by to buy the stuff on its own. Man, does it pack some heat!
For additional authentic Central American fare, classic Salvadorian Pupusas ($6 for three) are great to share at your table. Filled with either cheese only or cheese and pork, they’re lightly grilled, mild and a little sweet from the corn flour base. Fajitas, tacos and tamales are also big sellers. There are a number of seafood dishes available as well.
Fresh-squeezed juices – sweet, super-fresh melon and exotic tamarindo, which tastes a bit like a date – were favorites. Traditional rice flavors, with a hint of cinnamon, and a surprisingly sweet cashew juice, are also available.
While Angel and Jose are off to a great start, they say they’re just getting started. A new sign out front is the first of many improvements they’re preparing to make. Those include a new menu encompassing more of Central America and, in a nod to the space’s roots, an atmosphere where the whole family can enjoy authentic fare. With a great start in the last eight years, we’re excited to see where their journey takes them.
1624 New York Ave.,
Atmosphere: Family-style dining in country trappings
Cuisine: Central American, with Salvadorian focus
Hours: Deli: 6 a.m.-9 p.m., 7 days; Restaurant: 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 7 days