Happy New Year to readers of this blog! I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2022 filled with travels near and far! I am starting this year’s blogging by sharing one of Dan and my favorite restaurants in the World – Jose Enrique in sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico!
Dan and I keep a running list of all of our favorite restaurants around the World, and Jose Enrique in San Juan, Puerto Rico always makes the list! Introduced to us by one of Dan’s college friends, we first dined at Jose Enrique in 2013. Still raving eight years later, Jose Enrique was just as good as we imagined, albeit in a new location! Now in swanky Condado, Jose Enrique is located in a somewhat unimpressive looking building without a sign (a carry over from before). Inside is pretty casual, with a few paintings scattered around.
As soon as we walked in, our waitress brought over the food and drink menus and one of my favorite thing about Jose Enrique’s, its trio of sauces!! I don’t even know what they are, but they are amazing. Our waitress also explained each of the dishes, as they are almost never as they sound by reading the menu (which, deceptively, looks a little “meh”).
THE JOSE ENRIQUE DRINKS.
Jose Enrique makes fantastic drinks. We started with the Red Sangria, which is strong and not at all sweet. Lovely. We later ordered another round of cocktails. Pictured is the GG Martinez, which was fabulous.
JOSE ENRIQUE’S “APPS”
Dan’s sister joined us this time at Jose Enrique’s, so we got to split a lot of dishes! For starters, we ordered the Deviled Eggs (my choice!) and these little bits of fried pork. The Deviled Eggs were super fantastic and topped with fried onions, but then again, I really liked Deviled Eggs! I may have been the only one who ate them… The fried pork bits were similar to chicharrones and were very good with the sauce trio!
JOSE ENRIQUE’S MAINS
For main courses, or “mains” on the menu, the three of us split three dishes, the first of which was a set of three thinly pounded swordfish “steaks” (for lack of a better word) that were lightly fiend and served with lemon slices and just right amount of sea salt! I LOVED this dish and it was probably my favorite of the entire trip! I seriously cannot stop talking about it. If you go to San Juan, do not miss anything thinly pounded and fried from Jose Enrique. I had a similar dish, albeit beef, last time I visited and simply cannot forget it.
Our second course was the most delicious skirt steak served with chimichurri sauce. This steak was served super rare at our request. Would definitely recommend.
Our third course was called “Lick Your Plate Chicken,” and it truly was. This simple looking dish was an almost Asian-style chicken served with rice. It was not too spicy but also not sweet and perfectly done. We really enjoyed it!
JOSE ENRIQUE SIDES
Not to be sidetracked by the apps and the mains, Jose Enrique’s sides are nothing to turn your nose at! We received two, the first of which was a sweet sweet potato mash topped with fresh vegetables. And OMG, it was amazing! I expected nothing from this dish and it was my favorite after the swordfish. Jose Enrique can really cook!
We also got a fried rice and beans style dish, which is a local Puerto Rican dish. It was very tasty and paired well with our food!
Desserts are not usually on the Jose Enrique written menu, but don’t forget about them! Our server explained about 8 desserts to use after our meal, and every one sounded amazing! We opted to split 2 desserts between the 3 of us: a chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream and homemade whipped cream and a trio of Puerto Rican cheeses, slightly brûléed, topped with 3 different Puerto Rican marmalades. The cake was decadent, dense, and very chocolaty. It paired perfectly with the chocolate ice cream. However, the real star was the homemade whipped cream. AMAZING. It was the perfect light pair to the chocolate cake.
The Puerto Rican cheeses were a bit lighter. This type of Puerto Rican cheese had a texture similar to Feta and is a bit bland, which makes it perfect for pairing with marmalade. Our 3 marmalades were pineapple, strawberry, and Puerto Rican speciality. Very delicious and a good pair with the dense chocolate cake!
Once again, we left our meal very satisfied and really wanting to return to Jose Enrique ASAP. Please don’t go to San Juan without eating here! For those planning a visit, reservations are almost certainly necessary. Attire is casual, but no beach attire or things of that sort.
STEAL OUR RESTAURANT
ON A BUDGET
You can see the prices on the menu above, which are not crazy for what you are getting. Compared to Jose Enrique’s restaurant in NYC, this is a steal. That being said, there are plenty of less expensive places to eat in San Juan, including Condado and Viejo San Juan. Check out El Jabirto in Old San Juan and Pinky’s in Condado for some fun Puerto Rican specialities on a budget!