A Sandwich a Day: Roast Pork Jibarito at Cocina Boricua

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

Editor's Note: In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year--so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the Windy City. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know!


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

By now, you hopefully know the drill with Chicago's jibarito. Instead of bread, thin ovals of plantains are fried until crisp and stuffed with loads of fatty meat. Most versions live or die on the strength of those plantains. Too greasy and soggy, and the sandwich breaks in half, causing spills, stains, and general unease. But Cocina Boricua's plantains are some of the most expertly fried I've found yet: thin, crispy, and sturdy—these could stand up to anything.

But at first I was paying less attention to the plantains and was more alarmed about that big pool of white goo. Doesn't it look like biggest smear of mayonnaise imaginable? Turns out it's just white American cheese, and while there is too much of it, it doesn't get in the way nearly as much as you'd think. Each bite is actually dominated by the fatty pork. A shake of hot sauce helps counter the meat, but mostly this good to go. I wasn't expecting such a great version, but looks like I have a lot more to learn about the jibarito.

Cocina Boricua

2420 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map)