Forget all your preconceived notions about bread reigning supreme as king of the sandwich -- plantains can miraculously succeed in replacing the conventional sandwich binder. That’s the case at Patacon Pisao, a Lower East Side shop whose name translates to “flattened plantain.”
Owner Liliana Velazquez started her business out of a food truck in 2005 in Inwood before opening a brick-and-mortar location in Elmhurst in 2010, followed by a second location Downtown in 2014. The restaurant’s top seller is the patacón, a traditional fried plantain sandwich that originated in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
To make the patacón (which is on its own vegan and gluten free), unripe plantains are fried, smashed, and then fried again. Removed from the pan, the once-hockey puck-sized disks start to resemble a thin tortilla: browned, blackened, and crusty. One portion of the disk is topped with a selection of meats, like shredded roast pork, spicy shredded beef, or thick bacon, and then finished off with fried cheese and fresh vegetables.