There’s Dominican food in Memphis, but you’re going to have to venture well outside of the I-240 loop to find it. The good news is, the food at 42 Dominican is very much worth the drive.
For those of you not familiar, Dominican food is island food. Think of it as sort of a cross between Mexican and Creole, with lots of fresh vegetables and plantains.
When it came to ordering, I was a little lost. It was my first time trying Dominican food, and I wasn’t sure what exactly I should order from the small-ish menu. 42 Dominican has daily specials (like oxtail, chicken stew and tripe), but the super friendly waitress recommended that I try the fongo. They were out of chicken stew (it was pretty late), so I had it with chicken breast instead.
My chickenfongo ($10) came with two insanely tender pieces of marinated chicken breast topped with cooked (but still crunchy) marinated bell peppers and tomatoes.
Next to the chicken, there were two huge muffin top-shaped discs of mashed plantains. They had the consistency of thick mashed potatoes with the occasional crunch of a dried banana. The description sounds a little gross, but they were really good. I expected them to be sweet, but they were kind of neutral and rich.
42 Dominican has kind of a weird, albeit very friendly, vibe. From the outside, all of the windows are covered in thick strips of tint, so you can’t see in. Inside, the restaurant space is big, but fairly bare bones. There’s a small buffet stand set up, presumably for lunch. One end of the space is used as a convenience store of sorts – there are cigarettes, phone cards and a cooler full of drinks, but that’s about all. During our meal, our server DJed Spanish dance music via YouTube videos.
On the whole, though, I really enjoyed my meal. The food was great, the servings big enough for left overs, and the prices were right. I didn’t see much on the menu that topped $12, and dinner for two of us came out to $25. Be sure to bring cash for the tip, though – there wasn’t a blank on the credit card slip.
42 Dominican is open daily for lunch and dinner.
5910 Mt. Moriah Rd.
Memphis, TN 38115