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The Mass Media

Eating Around The World – In Dorchester: Caribbean Cuisine

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Eating Around The World – In Dorchester: Caribbean Cuisine

Paraiso Restaurant offers an authentic Caribbean dining experience and welcoming hospitality that will make you feel like you are eating on the coast of the Dominican Republic with a whole room of friends. It is a 15 minute walk from the JFK/UMass Red Line stop, located at 750 Dudley Street, and in the Upham’s Corner part of Dorchester. 
From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the offerings are in heated pans, buffet-style, where patrons choose one of a couple proteins, and either white or yellow rice with crispy pork, as well as red or black beans. “Our most common dish is white rice, red beans, and stewed chicken — it’s known as the Dominican Flag,” says a smiling Greg Colon, who is both bartender and server. Other protein options include pork, beef, and a swordfish and okra mix. A plate is $7 with progressively more heaping sizes priced at $9.50 and $11.
The front part of the restaurant in encased entirely of windows that illuminate it and the rest with sunlight. Caribbean drums and singing played through speakers. “Paraiso” translates to “paradise,” or, “heaven,” and there is definitely a relaxed quality to the establishment’s atmosphere.
Opened close to three years ago, Colon says Paraiso Restaurant is a family operation. His mother is the chef, sister is a hostess, his brother a server, and his uncle is a prep cook and dishwasher. But he says that the staff seeks to welcome the patrons as if they were family too.  
“We refer to the men as ‘primo,’ and the women as ‘prima,’ a Spanish term that means ‘cousin’ — it’s informal, like, ‘friend,’ and we always try and be personable.” Being welcoming is a part of Dominican culture, says Colon.
He says that many of the patrons are Hispanics and Cape Verdeans local to Dorchester and he often hears, “Hey, this reminds me of food in my home country,” or “This reminds me a lot of how my Mom cooks.”
Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., items off the menu are available to be ordered.
“Pastelitos De Carne De Res/Queso” ($2) are essentially three of the Jamaican patties seen sold at local street vendors in Boston, except homemade and melt-in-your mouth, and with better pastry. The sauce that accompanied them seemed to be mayonnaise based, included tomato paste, and had a little bit of spiciness. These were so good and cheap that the party I was with got two more orders after the first.  
“Yuca Frita Con Mojito De Ajo” ($3) are sticks of fried Cassava, a potato-like crop, served with a sauce made of crushed garlic and vegetable oil. They are a fun change from French Fries.
Among a number of “normal” salads the restaurant also offers ones with Seafood added. An interesting “Ensalada De Pulpo A La Vinegrata” ($8.50) comes with pieces of octopus. 
“Mofongo” is a cone of plantain and chicken mushed together and seasoned with garlic. A chicken breast with a bronze colored searing sat on top, alongside fresh iceberg leaves and tomato wedges. 
For drinks, there are the usual fountain drinks, but perhaps more appropriate are the tropical juices like Mango ($3) or Passion fruit that is refreshing.