Little Ricky’s Soft Opening Brings Out Large Crowds And Rave Reviews

Brookland New Restaurants NE Washington DC
Masitas de puerco with black beans, rice, and platanos maduros

The long anticipated opening of Little Ricky’s, Brookland’s new Cuban sit-down restaurant occurred the weekend of Friday Nov 9 – Sunday Nov 11th. For now, they will be open weekly Friday though Sunday; and as part of their soft opening, will be serving up different 4-course fixed priced menus each night. The idea is to refine the items that they plan to offer on their full, regular menu in December. The price for these meals is $24.50. We stopped by on Friday, and again on Sunday to check it out.

I’ll start with the vibrant ambiance. From the salsa music lilting through the air, to the fine artwork by Cuban artist Ahmed Gomez , the owners have clearly taken a lot of time and effort to create a wonderful atmosphere that is a step above anything we have seen in the immediate area. The beautiful craftsmanship of the  hand-made shelving behind the bar is an example of the investment the owners Chase and Lola have made.

On to the food and service. The first night they were open, Friday, the food was very good, but the service was a bit disjointed. Having worked in the restaurant industry for a number of years, I knew to expect that the first night would have a few bumps. I decided to return Sunday night for another go-round. This time the pace of the service was much more smooth, and I already noticed improvements, for example, the portions were tweaked for the better and the side dishes were much more consistent. The management bounced around from table to table, making sure everyone was taken care of. I spoke with roughly 20 guests between the two nights, and to a person everyone raved about how delicious the food was, and how happy they were with the experience.  

Standouts on the menu were:

  • Croquettas – delicious little appetizers, crunchy on the outside and soft yummy fillings on the inside, like ham or fish.
  • Gambas al Ajillo – perfectly sautéed shrimp with a garlic sauce, a classic tapa and perfect way to start a meal
  • Sopa de Mariscos – a flavorful tomato based  soup chock full of seafood and potatoes
  • Lechon Asado – slow roasted pork, oh-so-tender and de-lish
  • Grilled Fish (I think it was tilapia) – perfectly cooked with a hint of lime & garlic
  • Masa de Puerco – fork tender sautéed pork chucks with a nice caramelized seer with onions
  • Mango Ice Cream – soooo soooo good,

(To see the full menus that were served over the weekend, check out our earlier post here.)  

 A head’s up – I would strongly recommend making a reservation. They have been flooded with walk-in customers, eager to get a taste of the Cuban fare. So, you want to be sure you get a seat. Brooklanders, having lived in a culinary no-man’s land for years are beyond eager to support this new business. (Those of us who stood in line at Menomale in their first few days know what I mean.) I spoke with Chase about that and he appreciates the outpouring of support. We expect that with each passing week, things will continue to get better and better – so far off to a great start. Welcome to the neighborhood Little Ricky’s!
Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. Click here for their website.

6 thoughts on “Little Ricky’s Soft Opening Brings Out Large Crowds And Rave Reviews”

  1. It’s great to have another place to eat on 12th Street that people like. But when I’ve passed by this restaurant, it doesn’t look that large from the outside. Do you know when any of the restaurants at the Rhode Island Metro station will open? I heard they will have a Chipotle. So far, only posters indicating the DMV, Sprint, and T-Mobile are coming soon, with Carolina Kitchen coming in 2013.

  2. Also, one of the owners told me they were approved for a rooftop patio, which will be ever so nice in the summer, sitting in the dusk with the basilica in sight.

  3. My fiance and I took the opportunity to go to Little Ricky’s this past weekend (after Thanksgiving). The food was wonderful, the atmosphere fun and indeed unlike anything else in the area, and they serve up a pretty good mojito. Plus, the staff was polite and attentive. One of the owners spoke to us after our meal. She highly recommends staying connected via their Facebook page for updates and invites to special events they’re planning specifically for local neighbors. Can’t wait to see what’s in store!

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