The spirit and passion of Puerto Rico and its people are alive at this raucous Latin eatery. Situated in Manhattan’s trendy TriBeCa neighborhood, this colorful restaurant is headed up by “Empanada King” Frank Maldonado, a Puerto Rican native who was born in the kitchen! This flute-playing, bongo-bashing chef is the driving force behind Sazon’s authentic Puerto Rican fare.
Color is your background canvas at Sazon for gorging on a myriad of Latin flavor. There are pink walls, white chairs, and gaudy chandeliers evoking a kitsch and vivacious atmosphere. After dinner, retire downstairs for some salsa dancing and cocktails at the lounge. If you’re lucky, the Empanada King will shed his toque for a bank of bongos to rock out till the wee hours! Much of the fare is Caribbean, with Puerto Rican influences dolled up. With busy, hurried servers, diners dancing, and yoo-hooing around the room, Sazon is loud. If you’re into a quiet dinner, this is not your locale.
Set aside from all that whooping and hollering is some great home-style Puerto Ri can food. To start, try the camarones con rum, crusty grilled shrimp with a sugary rum glaze or the arepas di Vieques — a coconut corn pillow with crab meat escabeche. Carne Frito, also known as fried marinated pork chunks, doesn’t disappoint either! In fact, the appetizer menu shines with so many tasty Puerto Rican morsels that you may want to just skip the main courses and try many of these tasty treats! Definitely do not leave Sazon without trying Maldonado’s signature empanadas — plump, crusty dough filled with a delectable filling of shrimp, chicken, beef, or vegetable — very addictive!
If there’s anything left in your tank after an onslaught of fine apps, the hits keep on coming! Sazon's menu reads like a who’s who of Puerto Rico's dishes — for the plantain-lover there are three picks: the mofongo al pilon, mashed green plantains with beef or shrimp are wonderful, the pernil, a wad of slow cooked pork that melts in the mouth. There is also a roasted Cornish hen that’s delicious, stuffed with sweet plantains, and slathered with guava sauce. There’s really something for everybody at Sazon! You’ll be entertained and fed to the ultimate surrounded by Puerto Rican culture, music, and flavor.