746 Amsterdam Ave (97/98)
(and several other locations)
I used to live 6 blocks from Malecon and passed it every single day for years, but never tried it. I heard many good things about it, but for some reason never got there. Now, almost 4 years later, I finally got there, thanks to Mr. Headphones, and was not at all disappointed.
Malecon reeks of authenticity. It has all the tell-tale signs: minimal decor, staff with broken English, and a no frills menu with loosely-translated English. The portions are enormous. We had the sensational soupy rice with chicken that arrives in a large bubbling cauldron of goodness. It was a cold day, so the bowl after bowl of soothing chicken and rice soup warmed our bellies. The large mound of mofongo was equally tasty as the mild mashed plantains bonded with chicken and garlic. Of course we had to have yuca and tostones (both good) to round out the experience.
I usually do not eat desserts at this type of ethnic eatery, as they are usually flan or basic ice creams, but the two we tried were great. The chocolate cake was good, standard cake that was not dry and had a good ratio of cake to icing. The tres leches cake was outstanding however. It was super moist with the creaminess almost overpowering the cake, yet still retaining its form. It was fantastic, and I was already plenty stuffed from our other dishes.
The moral here is not to overlook those neighborhood places that you pass by daily. You might find a mofongo in the rough. After a week I am already longing for a return visit to Malecon and all its deliciousness, so I know it deserves a big fat golden bonzone.