Crocante Restaurant in Colonialtown has the meats, and their rotisserie porchetta is the most drool-worthy

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Not pretty, but super porky
Not pretty, but super porky photo by Rob Bartlett

Those quick to admonish others for playing with their food have clearly never indulged in Yamuel Bigio's "Kan Kan" porchetta ($34). This boneless round of loin and belly rotisseried for six hours inside Crocante Restaurant's East Colonial Drive kitchen yields an outer ring so shellacked, so crackling, so ... crocante, that one can't help but pick up a knife and fork and play the thing like Tito Puente on the timbales.

RATA-TATA-TAP-TAP-TAP, RATA-TATA-TAP-TAP-TAP and ohh, here comes Celia Cruz with the vocals — Ríe! Llora! Vive tu vida y gózala toda. And enjoy it all we did. There's a reason for the "Kan Kan" moniker, too — that ring of pork rind is said to resemble the outer frill of a can-can dancer's underskirt. ¡Azúcar!

So, if it's the porchetta you want (and believe me, you want it), get a leg up and put in an order sooner than later. They've been known to run out of the signature offering now that word about the restaurant, and about Bigio — a Culinary Institute of America grad who ran his own restaurants in Puerto Rico — has gotten out.

I'd just as soon return for the empanadillas ($9) stuffed with beef and onions as I would for finger-stick alcapurrias ($8) — ground beef-stuffed fritters fashioned from yautia root and green plantains. They dip effortlessly into the provided pink sauce, but ask for a bottle of pique (chili peppers in vinegar) or, better yet, their yellow hot sauce. We bathed the rellenitos ($9), crisp, delicately fried yuca balls filled with beef, into the latter and wowza! what a winning combination.

Then there's peppery morcilla ($10), a dark, porky, rice-filled sausage that shows off Bigio's skills as a hot dogger. And hot it is. "Is it too hot?" asked a server walking past my table. "You're asking the wrong person," I said. "I like it hot." But for those who don't, the longaniza pork sausage ($10) is a right-proper banger too.

No question: Meat rules here, just as it does at Crocante Rotisserie Kitchen, the small diner/take-out operation Bigio runs in Kissimmee. But one dish you can get here that you can't in Kissimmee is the churrasco ($30). It's a pretty skirt of meat served with chimichurri and two sides. I chose cornbread and boiled yuca with mojo. If I had to order again, I'd go with the maduros and a cup of the pink beans. The latter was more like a comforting soup. Specialty sides of fat sweet potato rounds (add $1.50) and rice with pigeon peas (add $2.50) were choice choices with the rotisserie chicken ($17).

I slurped on fresh passion fruit juice ($5) in between bites but, admittedly, eyed a mojito being made at the striking bar in the center of the room. Next time, I thought to myself, but, then again, I thought that to myself after seeing the pastelon burger (it's a sweet plantain sandwich) on the menu, and the mofongo with lobster too.

click to enlarge Crocante Restaurant in Colonialtown has the meats, and their rotisserie porchetta is the most drool-worthy
photo by Rob Bartlett

Hell, next time, the restaurant may have a separate take-out wing, a live music stage, additional local art on the walls (Bigio is a real supporter) and, yep, more menu items. Honestly, I don't know when the man sleeps. "I get here at 6 a.m.," he said, and it's clear he loves every second of it.

Oh, he does all the desserts too, like trembly tembleque ($9), a coconut panna cotta topped with bits of dried mango. I scooped a bit, wiggled it in my spoon, then mischievously sucked it into my mouth much to the chagrin of my dining comrade who shot me a chiding look.

"Don't play with your food."

Location Details

Crocante Restaurant

4311 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando Colonialtown


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About The Author

Faiyaz Kara

Orlando Weekly restaurant critic since 2006.
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