Neighborhood Gem: Puerto Rican soul lives in a soup in Greenacres

Dec 27, 2017
Isla Del Coqui Restaurant's asopao de camarones is on point. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)

I found Puerto Rican soul in a bowl in a small Greenacres restaurant, and I’m so glad I did. It was Good Friday and I was looking for a good fish/seafood dish and found a winner on the menu at Isla del Coqui restaurant: asopao de camarones (Puerto Rican broth-y rice with shrimp, $11.25).

The place is tucked into a suburban strip mall. Few tables were filled on this particular afternoon, but takeout business was bustling. When the stew arrived at my table, I could see why the place was popular.

It arrived in a small metal pot, a heady, flavorful broth swimming with plenty of plump, tender, tail-on shrimp and delicious rice that had soaked up all the nutty achiote and herb-y cilantro accents of the broth. Surrounding this hot pot of goodness, a half-dozen large, crispy tostones (smashed, twice-fried green plantains) beamed in salute.

I don’t always think of a restaurant in terms of its full menu, its building or even its concept. Most times I think of restaurants as moments or singular dishes. That particular fish sandwich, that decadent dessert, that dish forever tied to my memory of the place.

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Thanks to this soulful spot, I will always think of my Good Friday lunch as that time I found a perfectly delicious asopao a world away from Puerto Rico.

Visit Isla del Coqui: 3092 Jog Rd., Greenacres; 561-642-0204