Restaurants that we'd recommend off the L train's Montrose stop are few and rarely worth visiting twice. Mojito Loco is an exception, with recipes coming from the Peruvian chef-owner's fearsomely delicious arsenal. The dining room itself is a vortex of well-kept neighborhood restaurant and '80s music-video showcase house (think: Rod Stewart on repeat). And at Mojito Loco every hour is happy hour, which means extra-strong $5 margaritas in six flavors, mixed drinks for $7, and beer starting at $2.
The winning-est plate in the house is the roast chicken (pollo a la brasa) for $8.75, a half-bird rubbed down with a hearty dose of spices, meat melting off the bone. Rice and black beans are plated separately, and a creamy garlic mojo sauce, crucial for dipping, arrives in ramekin on the side. Plates arrive with little accoutrement, but do not disappoint. The meat in the steak sandwich is thinly sliced and grilled only with onion, scorching hot french fries on the side, and is best dunked in the same garlic sauce.
While food is straightforward, it takes advantage of traditional Latin-American ingredients – jicama, quinoa, yucca, rocoto sauce, and cotija cheese – making frequent appearances on the menu in ceviches, served over tilapia, and in marinades. Nearly all are worth trying, especially since the most expensive dish on the menu registers at $17.50, with more than half under $10. Service is attentive, but unhurried, with a single friendly waitress tending both house and bar.
Mojito Loco is located at 102 Meserole St. between Manhattan & Leonard. Open daily for dinner and on weekends for brunch. (718) 963-2960.