Manhattan Cheap Eats: $14.40 Pork Chops in Black Bean Sauce at La Caridad 78

Date September 29, 2011

La Caridad 78

Sometimes after a particularly unsatisfying meal of small to large proportions, I begin to drift off – mentally, that is – to a place where I can forget about the mediocrity I recently ingested and look to the future to decide where I’m going to eat next. Not where I’ll eat tomorrow or next week, but where I’ll eat immediately after I leave the offending restaurant. Pizza is typically my solution in this situation, but last week, I was on the Upper West Side after 10pm on a Wednesday. That left nothing but Big Nick’s and it would be plain masochistic to eat there before 4am, especially while sober.

As I turned onto Broadway from 79th street, I noticed La Caridad 78, the humble Chinese-Cuban restaurant both my uncle Steven and former NY Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton hold in high regard. Uncle Steven favors pepper steak and beef chow fun, strong performers on the greasy, starchy scale. Sifton has a carnal love for the fried pork chops in black bean sauce, which he is known to “murder” annually with fellow NY Times writer Michael Kimmelman.

Turns out there’s a reason they commit murder together: one plate is filled with enough glistening, crisp-edge pork to feed three hungry people, especially if you consider the accompanying plate of yellow rice and black beans. Salty, juicy, and fatty, the pork chops certainly hit the spot. And while it’s not the best food in Manhattan, for $14.40, it may be the most affordable feast. Would I be making a return trip for the pork chops next year? No. I departed with my leftovers and gave them to a homeless man on 72nd street. Satisfaction is one thing, gluttony is another.

La Caridad 78 2199 Broadway at 78th Street, New York, NY 10024 (212) 874-2780 Open 11:30am-12am Mon-Sat, 11:30am-10:30pm Sunday, Delivery Hours: 11:30am-11pm Mon-Sat, 11:30am-10pm Sunday

7 Responses to “Manhattan Cheap Eats: $14.40 Pork Chops in Black Bean Sauce at La Caridad 78”

  1. Team Mischa Takedown said:

    Once again, why do I need to want porkchops before 10 am? Thx as usual Big L

  2. RWordplay said:

    First, L’Shana Tova. Wish you a year filled with sweet ripe and good things. Second, lovely opening, one criticism, never use the word mediocre, rather give an example and let the reader take come to that conclusion.

    Second, I was a huge fan of La Caridad 78 when I lived on West 83. Even their humble pork fried rice was exceptional, a single portion would feed three, with pieces of roast pork as thick as your thumb. was a treat and finished with a plate of plantain, the outside, crisp, the inside, smooth as custard.

    Thank you for the memory.

  3. Fresquire said:

    Hey Food Guy. Great to see you back. Website looks great. Looking forward to trying some of your new recommendations.

  4. Mo said:

    Oh Lawrence, I am hungry.


  5. Arverne By The Sea said:

    I have been to La Caridad 78, and the best dish that i have tried there was General Tso’s Chicken. The version that La Caridad made actually has a bit of tangyness to it. and trust me it is one of the finest dishes i have ever tried!

  6. Monarch at Ridge Hill said:

    Mmmmm, a fusion of Chinese and Cuban sounds like a delicious adventure. Our residents are going to find the Cuban flavors of another restaurant, Havana Central a constant adventure when it opens this February. Have you eaten there in NYC yet? What do you think of it?

  7. crankbunny said:

    They mention this restaurant numerous times in this episode of Seinfeld.. HOW MUCH FLAN CAN A PERSON EAT!?

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