Nancy Leson hasn't been there yet, but she's got some nice things to say about our newest restaurant and its owner and chef, Marta Vega.
Today, with the help of her son Luis Vega — among other extended-family members — the beloved matriarch is running a 35-seat cafe at 5303 Rainier Avenue South, offering homestyle Puerto Rican comfort-food at lunch and dinner.
At El Pilon, you might sit down to a plate of mofongo (plantains mashed with a handmade wooden pilon, or pestle), arroz con gandules y chulecas fritas (rice with pigeon peas and fried pork chops) or arroz con habichuelas y pollo en fricase (chicken with rice and beans). And though they don't have a beer and wine license — yet — you can instead sip juice made from guanabana while nibbling bacalitos (salt cod fritters).
But Holly and I have tried it out. And we loved it. The food is classic (chuleta for me, bistek for Holly, both with patacones), Luis is super-friendly, and Marta keeps appearing out of the kitchen to make sure everyone's happy (they were).
Really nice to see another locally owned restaurant take off to a good start in a great place. They're at 5303 Rainier Ave S, across from the DESC and Kawali Grill.