Nearby Nooks: Las Delicias
Old Christmas decorations and neon bar signs adorn the outside of one of the many restaurants on Syracuse's Westcott Street. Las Delicias Restaurant boasts "the best authentic Caribbean food in Central New York," but the cover of their menu should read "the most easily accessible Caribbean food restaurant to Syracuse University students."
After waiting about 10 minutes at my seat to be served in an almost empty restaurant, I walked up to the bar. In my pro-action, I asked the cashier/cook what she recommended that I order in hopes I would experience the best that the restaurant had to offer. I was answered with a variety of options. "What do you like," she responded, "fish, chicken, steak?" When I answered with "chicken," she began to read off all of the menu items that were under the section titled "chicken." I decided to order "pollo guisado" (translation: stewed chicken).
As I waited, I noticed that the waitress approached an older couple sitting behind me; perhaps, they didn't expect a college student to dine in. I smelled the thick spices permeate through the restaurant, listened to the loud Latin music that played through the speakers and heard the kitchen staff communicate with each other in their native tongue. Posters of Castillo San Felipe del Morro de San Juan and other Puerto Rican scenes covered one wall—the restaurant's primary influence was evident.
When the food finally arrived, it was a bit colder than I had hoped. The chicken, potatoes, carrots, black beans, yellow rice and green olives were drowned in a pool of broth that I could only assume consisted of authentic Caribbean spices. In a few minutes, the restaurant made up for all its past blunders. "Do you like it," the waitress, who had previously helped me decide what to order, asked from behind the bar. I continued chewing and gave her a thumbs up. Indeed, I did enjoy the food.
The restaurant's self-service emphasis would be acceptable anywhere on Marshall Street, but if you're a Syracuse University student who traveled all the way to Westcott Street from campus, you might have higher expectations. The food at Las Delicias is good, but not worth the long journey. To any student wanting to try something you can't get on campus, I would suggest ordering in. Conveniently, Las Delicias is on campusfood.com. So pull out your laptops and credit cards, and the next time dining hall food fails to suffice and you're sick of Jimmy Johns, try some Puerto Rican cuisine.