La Cocina held their grand opening on Tuesday, January 29. It was a festive event, with beautifully dressed guests and delicious food. Majorska Vodka was present, dishing out drinks to the appropriately aged guests and whetting our appetites for the exquisite latin cuisine. (It was also a launch party for the Stephanie O Show, a new radio show.)
The owners were happy and friendly to all. They walked around making sure everyone was enjoying themselves with the food and drink. The Latin music kept things bumping all night, and people even danced in the restaurant’s small open area in the back.
From the owners of Robert’s Pizzeria, we now have a latin-style restaurant in the midst of the University Heights area, just across the street from Rutgers-Newark. Although there are many latin restaurants in Newark, there are very few in the area around the universities, which have a large Spanish/Latin population. It is certainly a welcome addition for students.
I spoke to Aly Miller, one of the owners (along with her dad, brother, and uncle), about La Cocina’s inception and its benefit to the area. It has been open since just after Thanksgiving, but did not have the grand opening party until last week. They also got a new chef in the new year.
Miller also noted that the space includes a backyard with a deck, which will have seating when it’s warmer out. She also mentions that she hopes to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the small garden to use in the restaurants.
Mini beef and potato sliders, spinach and feta empanadas, and mini open-faced Cuban sandwiches were distributed throughout the party. All of the food was exquisite and hopefully indicative of their regular fare.
I also spoke to new Chef Cynthia Soto, about her creations. The previous chef helped build the menu but Soto is putting her own twist on things. “I cook from the heart with a lot of flavor, with a lot of love,” she had to say about her food. She said that the foods served at the party were all small versions of the restaurant’s food.
The food sold at La Cocina on regular business hours looks just as delicious. Specialties range from rabo encendido (ox tail) to bacalao (codfish stew). Platters are only $6.95, with two sides, a great deal! They also serve moist and delicious rotisserie chicken and very filling sandwiches. Personally, my favorites were the empanadas. The arroz con leche (rice pudding) and tres leches (3 milks cake) are also to die for, if you happen to be in a dessert mood. Most importantly, they offer free delivery!
There are vegetarian options at La Cocina, and if you mention that you don’t eat meat they will be glad to help you pick something.
61 New Street, Newark
Monday-Friday: 11 am – 7 pm