Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The King of Sandwiches....Really?

Start with the Sweetbreads......

Yeah I love the big fat sandwich with everything on it-the 'steak', the ham, melted cheese, and of course the crispy fried egg. It seems like every joint in North Beach has one. But at El Rey Del Chivito, the sandwich (the 'chivito') is almost elegant in its crunchiness. Accompanied by a big pile of fries, there is a surprising lack of greasy drippings rolling down your wrist when you eat it. My only quibble with this place, and while it may seem small, it has kept me away, is the tourist-ripoff act they pull when you order a glass of water. I ordered two glasses of water, and the waiter brings two bottles of some crappy no-name stuff they probably pay about twenty cents for, and proceeds to pop one open. "Wait, I don't want bottled water, that's why I ordered two glasses of water," I remind him in my kindly timbre. "But I've already opened it," he says, even though I asked him to wait and he actually only had one bottle open. "Well I'm not paying for that," I respond, reassuringly (they are $2 each). "But the owner will make ME pay for them," he cries. "Then send the owner over and I'll tell him myself, brother, but I'm not paying for something I didn't order," I reply politely but firmly.

Of course the owner isn't there, and the sandwich is great, but an extra $4 for something one doesn't want, followed by dead silence, makes for a discomfort that my constant companion and I feel for a good portion of the meal. The service was fine after a minute or two, though, and we had ordered a huge plate of sweetbreads to precede the chivitos. An enormous amount of mollejas are plopped down (above), and we probably could have made a meal from half the food we ordered (there was some to-go-box shoveling-into, I can assure you). The decor is tacky/chic, with a bunch of photos of people you never heard of, and a couple of Valerrama (the corkscrew-haired soccer star, not the dude from 'That 70's Show' who gets all the young poon).

Great coffee, too, called lagrima, which I guess is like a colada. You'll need a few glasses of water to wash it all down. Be very specific.
Ever had a great meal almost ruined by upselling or flat-out ripoffs? Please add your own story...

They got the goods...
6987 Collins Ave, Miami Beach - (305) 864-5566
and 18120 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Bch - (305) 792-7776