Octopus Salad @ Margon
For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting visitors during lunch from various members of my family; on one occasion Hannah and Adam (my sister-in-law and nephew, respectively), and on two occasions my Mom. Out of two of those three times, I took them to Margon. (I wasn’t crazy about Cuban sandwiches at Margon, but the rice dishes are homey and delicious.) Sure, I could have taken them somewhere fancy, but the people in my family don’t need pretense for a good meal, just good food. That’s how we roll.
The family menu has been the same at each lunch. One order of octopus salad, and one order of oxtail. Each order comes with rice (yellow or white, we got yellow), beans (red or black, we got one of each), and maduros (sweet plantains, we asked for extra). With one water and a can of soda, the total comes out to $22. The octopus salad is becoming my favorite summertime lunch of choice. It’s cool and refreshing with a lot of bright flavors from the lemon, olives, red peppers, and cilantro. And best of all, the texture of the octopus is always soft and pliant, never rubbery. Adam who was complaining he didn’t want to eat when we got there, happily ate all the olives in the salad while he played with my iPhone.
The oxtail — braised in a gravy of red wine, white onions, garlic, and cilantro — is another favorite. As is the case whenever you order oxtail, it’s bone-in, but because it’s been braised for so long, the tender meat falls off the bone with little resistance. Out of all the times I’ve ordered the oxtail, only one piece ever gave me a problem, but I’m always fine picking up the bones with my fingers and getting down to business. It’s the best way to get at the gelatinous caps of the bones anyway. The oxtail is rich and filling, especially with the accompanying plate of rice, beans, and sweet plantains caramelized at the edges, but if you’re hungry and have a big appetite, this should definitely fit the bill. However, if you’re not big on food comas back at the office, go to Margon with a friend and share an order of oxtail with the much lighter octopus salad. It makes for a more reasonable lunch. But if you’re coworkers aren’t into it, I’m sure my mom or sister-in-law will be happy to join you. Just remember to bring your iPhone so my nephew will be occupied while you pig-out.
36 W 46th Street (betw 6th & 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10036