Long before prohibition, man sought out a remedy for the hangover blues, from the curative powers of aspirin to the restorative potential of additional alcohol–Corpse Reviver or Bloody Mary, anyone? But forget the “hair of the dog” antidotes. What you need to jolt you out of bleary-eyed, post-inebriated hell is a good morning dose of meat and potatoes–South American style.
The carne con yuca at Macondo on the Lower East Side is just the fix. It should come as no surprise that a restaurant on the border of LES and the East Village–two areas surely responsible for a good portion of New York’s liquor-induced delirium–would have a menu filled with starch-heavy morning meals. The food at Macondo has enough brawn to knock down any lingering ills from those back-to-back happy hours the day before. But of all the tasty treats here, the carne con yuca is by far the standout. At $15, it’s the priciest item on the brunch menu, but it’s well worth the cost–time was put into this dish.
The yuca (cassava) is boiled (just like a potato) so it can soften–but this root also needs to be leeched of cyanide. It’s a long but important process–raw yuca is poisonous. Afterward, the yuca is flash-fried until golden crisp–just like french fries. Once plated, the cassava is then piled with steak that was grilled on an open flame, then topped with chimichurri sauce, then queso fresco, and finally one egg–sunny side up. Please don’t request that the egg be prepared another way–no scrambled eggs, no over-medium. This is not a dish to doctor.
And don’t try and sneak a yuca fry from the bottom to it eat whole. If you do, it’ll taste a bit dense. Take your time, cut one down to size, and sop up all the goodness from the broken yolk, the chimichurri, and the queso fresco that has slowly softened under the steam of the steak. That’s it, stack your fork. Feeling better yet?
157 East Houston