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Address: 105 Reade St (nr Broadway)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10013
Phone: (212) 406-1900
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
2nd Cuisine: Tapas/Small Plates
Area: Tribeca


Sazon is definitely worth the price of admission.  This new Tribeca hot spot on Reade Street is bold, brash and lots of fun.  You may notice a bouncer outside.  That's because thee place has a real night club vibe from its tangerine padded walls, bright red drapes and gothic chandeliers to its curvy tiled bar.  Think the Latin equivalent of "Sex in the City."  I mean, I haven't seen this many leggy blondes and brunettes in mini-skirts in one spot in quite some time.  At least not in a restaurant.
We arrived shortly after 10pm on a Saturday night and the place was packed.  After a short wait at the bar we were seated next to a gaggle of gorgeous sextresses sipping their white sangria and nibbling on pieces of fresh fruit.  Do you hear me single guys?  You want to be here!  But along with the "scene" comes the sounds; a lively Latin beat fills the air along with loud conversation.  This is not the spot for a quiet romantic dinner (at least not on weekends).  It is the right place for a night on the town or to celebrate with some friends. 
Sazon is the sister of Sofrito and the food is a mix of Cuban and Puerto Rican. There are grilled shrimps glazed with Puerto Rican rum ($9), mini Piononos ($6); sweet plaintains stuffed with beef, and baked clams cooked with bacon and Sofrito butter ($13).  We sampled the empanadas ($2 each).  They're nice and plump and stuffed with nicely spiced beef, shrimp or chicken.  Chicharron de Pollo ($8); crispy chunks of chicken, were also great for dunking in a green chile sauce.   
Entrees are also done up quite well.  The show-stopper is definitely the Pernil.  It's giant slab of pork on the bone (think Flintstones) with a nice crisp skin.  But we couldn't help but laugh as more than one jaw dropped as it arrived at adjacent tables.  I went for the Churrasco, a grilled skirt steak ($21) smothered in garlic and herbs. It was delicious.  Each piece of meat was tender and juicy and the tostones on the side were terrific.  My wife had the Mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with mashed green plantains and served with a handful of jumbo shrimps ($15).  But there were some disappointments.  The lobster accompanying  the Sazon paella ($23) that a friend ordered had seen better days, and a pulpo salad ($15) was rubbery and bland that no amount of fresh lemon juice could revive. 
But those were minor inconveniences.  We were here for the vibe, so we opted for another round of cocktails over dessert, which includes traditional dishes like flan, trembleque (coconut pudding), churros with a chocolate dipping sauce and guava empanadas.  And if you want to keep the party going, on weekends you can head to the downstairs lounge for a bit of salsa.