The B train station at 174-175 Sts./Grand Concourse sits at the southern end of the Bronx neighborhood of Mount Hope, which is sliced into sections by steep hills and highways like the Grand Concourse. Restaurants here are few and far between, so those that thrive serve many purposes and people, not to mention three meals a day.
Cristino Tigre has turned his little pizzeria into much more than a slice joint since he opened it 35 years ago. Though Tigres Pizza’s dining room is not much more than a handsome wooden counter and a couple of stools, today it serves American breakfasts from 7 to 11 a.m., followed by Italian-American specialties and Mexican snack food.
Though the two pizza ovens are still given a daily workout — tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and other taqueria standards are now the heart of the operation. Like the deep-fried flautas (a trio of tortillas filled with meat and showered with lettuce and crema, $10), everything is made to order and served with red and green salsas. (There’s also a special salsa made with smoky sweet chipotles, but you have to ask for it.)
Tigres Pizza: 234 E. 174th St., near Weeks Ave., Bronx; (718) 466-3709
At Aurora Fish Grill, a three-year-old takeout spot, the flavors are all Latin American.
Most of the menu is Dominican, like owner Julio Castillo — who’s often the one working the register — but instead of roast pork, he’s focused on the lighter side of the cuisine. (For a regular deli menu, you can visit his Aurora Deli & Grocery at the other end of the block.)
At lunchtime, there are tropical juices from passion fruit to pineapple ($3); seafood (stuffed, over pasta, in paella, with rice or in soup); grilled chicken, and nearly a dozen salads, from marinated octopus ($10) to avocado ($3) or conch ($15). And nearly everyone orders an arepita de yuca on the side, or a barely sweet grated cassava fritter laced with aniseed.
There are also a few beloved Venezuelan snacks, says Castillo, like the patacon and the cachapa, both $7 sandwiches. The first is made with a smashed fried plantain instead of bread, and the second, with a toasted corn cake called an arepa. They’re usually filled with lettuce, tomato, mayo-ketchup and seasoned shredded chicken, which is also piled on the chimichurri, a pressed Dominican version of the burger topped with shredded cabbage. (It’s an Aurora special at $4.99 with a soda.)
Aurora Fish Grill: 150 E. 174th St., at Selwyn Ave., Bronx; (917) 891-6872
On chilly days, the windows of Pollo Sabroso Lechonera Dominicana are so steamy you can barely see the main attraction: the crisp-skinned roast chickens and whole pork shoulders that lure passersby from the sidewalk.
Those meats are one reason the tables here are full all day long — try the pork with plain white rice, red beans and a squeeze of lemon, $9 — but another is simply the quality of the homestyle Dominican cooking.
Everything here has its ardent fans, from the many Dominican style stews with chicken, beef, goat, liver, or pig’s foot, to the $5 rectangles of cheese-topped pastelon. That’s the must-try Dominican/Puerto Rican casserole similar to lasagna, made with mashed sweet plantains instead of noodles.
Pollo Sabroso Lechonera Dominicana: 105 E. Mount Eden Ave., near Walton Ave., Bronx; (718) 294-4403
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