It’s a tiny retail strip, but a good one, lined with locally-owned shops with a small-town feel. Not to mention great pizza, a picture-perfect coffee shop, plus Mexican food that’s worth a trip.
Las Maravillas de Mexico — the name means “marvels of Mexico” — is no pale wallflower with its popping pastel shades.
The food is easy on the eyes too, starting with the chips that come to the table free with four salsas: crunchy pico de gallo studded with jalapeño, chunky red salsa, salsa verde and a bright orange number made with dried chilis and garlic.
The menu is lengthy. Less commonly seen items include two styles of tacos made with flour tortillas then rolled up like little burritos. The arabes are filled with Middle Eastern spiced beef ($4); and the alambres are a mix of meat with Oaxacan string cheese called quesillo, the fragrant green herb papalo and chipotle chilis. (Three are $13.)
Platters like the Michoacan-style carnitas (tender pork is pulled off the bone and shredded, then mixed with onions and peppers) come with black beans and red rice and tortillas ($13).
Las Maravillas de Mexico: 11 E. Bedford Park Blvd., near Jerome Ave., Bronx; (718) 584-3455
The slice is right
Jerome’s Pizza & Restaurant is one of those local slice joints that serves seriously good pizza.
More than 30 years old, it has a classic look with plastic-lettered signs and formica booths. The go-to slice, says counterman Alfredo Bravo, is the rectangular Grandma with stripes of mozzarella with basil and garlicky crushed tomato sauce. “Everybody in the neighborhood gets this one,” he says. The runner-up is the spinach grandma, which comes with smear of silky chopped sautéed spinach. Both are thin, chewy and crunchy on the corners where the edges get toasted with olive oil. (A rectangle is $2.75; a pie is $18.)
There are also special round pies like the pizza bianca, a white beauty topped with hefty spoonfuls of ricotta over a layer of mozzarella (small, $14.50), and proper meals like veal and pepper parmigiana ($10.95) or the bean and noodle soup called pasta fagiole ($4).
Jerome’s Pizza & Restaurant: 21 E. Bedford Park Blvd., near Jerome Ave., Bronx; (718) 933-3455
Relax and enjoy your meal
If you grew up in Bedford Park, chances are good you’ve been served by Katerina Filippatos and her brother Gus Koufalis, who bought the already decades-old National Restaurant & Coffee Shop in 1982. (They also run the Bedford Cafe diner across the street.)
The siblings have renovated the National’s double-wrap around counters in recent years, but the place still looks and feels like a throwback to when every neighborhood had a lunch counter where you leisurely caught up on local news over a heavy porcelain mug. (The motto on the menu reads, “It Isn’t a Meal Without Good Coffee…Relax & Enjoy Your Meal.”)
“I’ve known some of my customers since they were two years old, now they are 30 years old,” Filippatos says. Her cooks have been there almost as long, sending out coffee shop classics like silver dollar pancakes ($5.95), monte cristo sandwiches on challah ($9.75), full Irish breakfasts with black and white pudding ($9.25), or sprinkle-speckled banana splits ($6.75).
And that cup of coffee is still $1.50, with refills, of course.
National Restaurant & Coffee Shop: 8 E. Bedford Park Blvd., near Jerome Ave., Bronx; (718) 365-5515
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On – 17 Apr, 2018 By Rachel Wharton