You'd be cuckoo not giving Coco a chance when visiting Paseo Boricua, the Division Street strip set between two 59-foot-tall Puerto Rican flag sculptures. Coco removes the buffet-style of eating you'll uncover at the neighborhood kiosks with its contemporary Puerto Rican dishes and neat setup.
A carefully arranged atmosphere captures an Old San Juan spirit with rustic lamps glowing in a room of exposed brick and hardwood floors. Reflections of a guitarist overhead, completes the character. Paintings of Puerto Rican celebrities hang, symbolizing the pride of a community you'll see when dining on the outdoor patio. Enjoy your signature coconut martini in this area and listen to the sounds of salsa blaring from cars passing and the wholehearted seniors playing dominos.
The diners inside reproduce the diversity of the strip. Guests range in age, many in for a celebration, be it a one-year anniversary or 60th birthday. Proper attire appears the norm, especially on Saturday nights when the restaurant transforms into a nightclub/lounge. Other evenings present salsa lessons and karaoke.
You'll want to take advantage of customer appreciation nights (every last Thursday of the month) where the restaurant offers its customers free appetizers. On a typical day, the average appetizer, like the delectable coconut shrimp, puts a $9 dent into your credit card.
The restaurant vindicates a high-priced menu (an average entree is $19) with gorgeous plates bursting with interesting and progressive flavors. One of the restaurant's best sellers is the pechuga de pollo relleno de yucca: yucca stuffed chicken breast, wrapped in bacon with a mango/pineapple sauce and a side of tostones, $17. Stick around post-meal and top off your experience with a passion fruit martini ($5 on Fridays).
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez