MORRIS COUNTY — At a time of hyperinflation and continuously rising gas costs, you might just be looking for a place to catch a reasonably priced, delicious home-cooked meal without all the fanfare. If you are in such a mood and you enjoy Latin cuisine, I may have just the place for you. Sazon Latino; specializing in authentic Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean, and European cuisine; is a clean, tiny, no-frills, buffet-style eatery located at the end of Main Street and Myrtle Avenue in quaint, historic downtown Boonton, a couple of doors from the Boonton Train Station. Once you decide to try it, it might just end up becoming your go-to place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Sazon Latino is small, with approximately eight tables, with quite simple, unpretentious décor. Clearly, the emphasis here is on the food, not the frills, which is a particularly good thing in this case. There is a small free parking lot in the rear of the restaurant, and free street parking is available. Opened 17 years ago by a very friendly, cordial, and gracious Geraldo Lagos, who along with his family, wife Galdis, and daughter Marylinn, hail from Honduras. Sazon Latino provides one with a casual, friendly, welcoming, uncomplicated, and relaxing dining experience. Nothing fancy here folks! This is a no-frills, casual and friendly venue offering fresh, good, hearty, tasty, home-style prepared authentic Latin food.
The delicious and authentic selections of Hispanic-style food, served buffet style, allowing you to pick and choose what you want on your plate, were indeed fresh, flavorful, truly authentic, and very reasonably priced. Interestingly, there are no menus here, you simply go to the serving line, where from behind a large glass safety shield you choose from an assortment of the daily selections, the point at what you want, and your server happily loads your dish accordingly. Your selections, which are generous portions, will be quickly accommodated as you move along the line. The cost of your meal is based on your selections, and on the size of your order, but regardless of what you order the prices at Sazon Latino are surprisingly reasonable, with generously portioned dishes being priced between $6.95 to 8.95, and do not forget Sazon Latino is a BYOB if you are so inclined. I brought along some Modelo Especial Cerveza to compliment my meal. I do not know where you are going to find a better deal than that. One is truly getting a so-called “bang for your buck” here!
Geraldo, the proprietor, was kind enough to welcome me inside to visit his kitchen area where the magic was happening. The pride Mr. Lagos took in his restaurant, family, staff, and food was evident. A Chef must love what he is doing to create great food and Geraldo Lagos certainly exhibited that love. It was fun to watch Geraldo and Stiven, preparing the daily assortment of freshly prepared food that went directly out from the kitchen to the old-school style steam table serving area, where his wife, daughter, and staff were busy greeting and graciously serving their customers. All of Sazon Latino’s staff is comprised of either family members or former residents of Central America. It was reminiscent to me of a small storefront inner-city Dominican restaurant I recently visited and enjoyed. These places are a treat, and not easy to find.
As my usual ravenous group of friends and I were finished loading up our plates with an assortment of BBQ Pork Ribs, Fried Chicken, Roasted Chicken, Empanadas, Yellow Rice and Black Beans, Plantains, Yucca, and French Fries, we made our way to one of the available tables, anxious to dig into our deliciously looking, colorful, and aromatic choices. The barbeque Pork Ribs were fantastic. Fall off the bone delicious, moist, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and savory. I quickly dispatched the four nice-sized ribs that I ordered. The beef-filled non-greasy Empanadas were fresh out of the deep fryer and were well filled with juicy, tasty beef filling, with a nice, crunchy, crispy shell.
Note, that on different days they may have different fillings. More about that later. I love Empanadas when they are made exactly right, and I must admit I did go back for seconds. I have been informed that Sazon Latino’s Empanadas are among New Jersey’s best. As we sat, Geraldo arrived at our table with several servings of Pico de Gallo, creamy Cole Slaw, potato salad, and a serving dish of chopped tomato, onion, and pickled Jalapeno to go with our meal, which was voraciously consumed.
The yellow rice and black beans were exceptional, as what should be expected at a Latin American eatery, and Sazon Latino did not disappoint. I should note that the servings here are neither hot nor spicy, and the flavoring of the food comes from an assortment of herbs and spices, which is common to Honduran food, but there is hot sauce on the table if you like to punch it up a bit. The slightly sweet, plantains were full of texture and flavor, and the mild, slightly sweet, nutty flavor of the Yucca made a great side dish. Everyone in my party had no hesitancy in giving Sazon Latino a thumbs up!
It should be noted that true to this style of homemade family-style cooking there are rotating daily entrees, selections will vary day to day. You may not always find what you want, but whatever the daily choice is you can be sure it will be tasty, well-prepared, homemade, authentic Latin American food. Dishes will always include selections of meat, poultry, fish, and assorted sides. One might also find selections such as Beef Stew, Beef Oxtail, Pork Rinds, Grilled Steak, Pernil, Tilapia, Red Snapper, Shrimp, and more. And remember, Sazon Latino serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Unfortunately, as usual, we all ate too much to find room for dessert, but Sazon does serve two of my favorite Spanish desserts, Tres Leches Cake, and Flan de Carmelo, along with Coffee, Tea, and I hear that their fresh-made mango juice tops the charts.
So, when you are in the vicinity of downtown Boonton do yourself a favor and stop in, say hello to a wonderful family, and enjoy a great meal that will not hurt your budget. I have no doubt you will enjoy it.
Sazon Latino Restaurant is located at 209 Main Street, Boonton (973) 794-4121.
Cuisines: Spanish, Latin American, European, Caribbean, Continental. BYOB
Dine-in · Takeout · Delivery. Offers Catering – Street Parking – Small Private Lot Parking
Hours Monday to Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Closed Sundays. Accepts Credit Cards.