For many, hearing the news that there is traditional comida Dominicana in the Valley is a lot like seeing a shirtless Bradley Cooper in a spin class: There is squealing and some people may accidentally hurt themselves from the excitement.
And of all the cities one might think to find it, Queen Creek probably isn't first on anybody's list. But that's okay with former New Yorker Eddie Taveras. As one of the owners of Mambo's Restaurant, which Taveras runs with his family, Mambo's is all about bringing in those who are familiar with the food of the Dominican Republic as well as those who have never eaten a plantain before -- even though it is "out in the middle of nowhere."
"We wanted to do something different," Taveras tells me on why his family opened their restaurant of Dominican food. "There is a lot of Mexican food here."
Formerly JJ's Pizza & Grill, Mambo's has kept the pizza on the menu to satisfy the former restaurant's customers and added classic Dominican dishes, made from family recipes, for everyone else.
"Dominican food is Caribbean-style food, but not like Jamaican, which is what a lot of people think," Taveras says. "It's closer to food from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica."
Mambo's serves up dishes such as the fried plantain-based dish, mofongo, Dominican fried chicken, and a Dominican-style burger called the Chimi, sometimes referred to as a Dominican Chimichurri or Dominican burger, made with a seasoned beef patty topped with a special sauce. There are also daily specials like oxtail (rabo), boneless chicken in sauce (pollo sin hueso guisado), and pan fried pork chops (chuleta frita) as well as weekend specials like the hearty stew sancocho, which is served on Sundays. Prices range from around $10 to $25 a person.
For more details and to see Mambo's daily specials, follow them on their Facebook page.
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Mambo's Restaurant 18423 San Tan Boulevard, Queen Creek 480-279-1131
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.