First thing is first, Cerro Negro is a Nicaraguan restaurant, not a Fritanga. If you’re not even sure what that means (I didn’t before I started dating my wife 15 years ago) even better. Sweetwater is
littered full of Nicaraguan businesses and Fritangas seem to make up a large portion of them. Fritangas are the quick service version of a Nicaraguan restaurant. The greatest hits of Nicaraguan food can be found ready to go with a couple of specials daily. Some of them also have seating but it’s normally very limited. You can find Fritangas in Davie, Hialeah, Miami Gardens and even Pembroke Pines.
Cerro Negro (named after the volcano in Nicaragua) is situated right where La Hormiga de Oro (another Nica resto) once was, in Sweetwater on the corner of 97th Avenue and Flagler. My parent turned me onto to this place but not without some trepidation on my part. I love them both but I do question some of the restaurants they love to eat at. So much so, that they spoke so highly of Cerro Negro that I was sure I wasn’t going to like it. It turns out I was very wrong.
In keeping with what I just told you, I ordered the Sangria against their wishes. They didn’t care for the heavy cinnamon flavor of it but I did. I wasn’t even expecting it to be that potent and it was a nice change from the regular run of the mill Sangria you find everywhere. If you’re keeping score at home, I didn’t tie the cherry’s stem into a knot. It’s not that I can’t but there’s a time and place for everything plus I don’t think my parents would have been that impressed.
The Taquitos are shredded Beef topped with the Nicaraguan Slaw and Crema (a variation on Sour Cream). We also had the Queso Frito (Fried Cheese) and Tostones (flattened & fried Plantains) to help us prepare for the meal. Don’t forget to ask for a side of their Jalapeño Crema to spice things up.
What makes Nicaraguan style Carne Asada so good is the marinade. And if it’s done right, the pieces of beef are so tender you could just pick it up, forgo silverware and eat the steak with your hand. I’ve seen this firsthand. Cerro Negro’s Carne Asada is excellent, one of the best I’ve had. On this occasion, I had some of their flavorful White Rice but the Gallo Pinto is really where it’s at. The Tajadas (fried sweet Plantain Chips, sliced longwise) are always a great side but my favorite is the Queso Frito. This pan-fried block of White Cheese is something I find myself at times obsessing over. The saltiness of the Cheese can be off-putting to some folks but it’s what makes it stand out amongst what some try to pass off as “Queso Frito”. There is nothing like it.
Cerro Negro opens at 7AM for breakfast but I’ve never made it, and I probably won’t unless there are Carne Asada and Queso Frito on the morning menu.
Nica Volcano Power:
9613 W Flagler St Miami, FL 33174