Love at first bite
Not every restaurant has the ability to drop you — mind, body and palate — someplace entirely different.
Then again, not every place is quite like Delicias Paisas, 392 Bridge St., where flying-saucer sized dishes are piled high with sweet plantains, fried yucca, citrus, seafood and carne aplenty, all smothered in a rich creole sauce.
You’ll be tempted to fill up on the perfectly crisp meat and potato empanadas at this homey, family-owned Colombian restaurant and bakery. But resist the urge because your stomach will never have room to experience the house favorite, the Typical Mountain Dish ($12.50), which is a whopping platter of steak, pork, sausage, beans, fried plantains and a fried egg (bandeja paisa) presented on a mound of white rice.
He received a degree in accounting from New York University, but had always dreamed of opening a small restaurant where he could offer the community a taste of his homeland.
Today, Pino’s nephew, Louis Ibarra, runs the place. And there are more choices for Columbian cuisine in Lowell. But Delicias’ homestyle cooking, friendly atmosphere — and full-service bar with their signature house sangria — gives the Bridge Street restaurant a loyal following.
The creole sauce, Pino says, is traditional Colombian fare. Spiced with cumin and cilantro, and mixed with honey, diced tomatoes, scallions and garlic, the sauce is combined with everything from meat, poultry and fish to plain white rice.
Most entrees here can easily be shared and average around $10. The rich Colombian coffee served up at the breakfast counter (there’s also a full breakfast menu) is piping hot and a glass display case anchored in the front room is filled with fried finger foods that make a nice and quick meal on the go, ranging from about $1.25 to $3 per piece.
The seafood stew, chock full of scallops, clams, fish, octopus and shrimp in a white wine based broth is a show stopper. But the Holy Grail of Delicias Paisas just might be the mouthwatering homemade flan.
Like a weekend jaunt to the beaches of Cartagena, Colombia, Delicias Paisas offers a quick hit of warmth that stays with you.