Nighttime used to be the only time to visit Patacon Pisao — "flattened plantain" — a nod to the twice-fried, golden discs that serve as the armature for a breadless Venezuelan sandwich. The truck was permanently ensconced at the edge of an Inwood parking lot, and many of its customers were also patrons of the nightclub across the street.
I must have missed the memo: Patacon Pisao now flattens plantains all day, except for a brief window between dawn and mid-morning. Nonetheless I was glad to grab hold of a patacon de pernil (roast pork, $6) in the relative warmth of a winter afternoon. Typically these sandwiches are dressed with lettuce, tomato, a slice of fried cheese, ketchup, and a runny "special sauce" flavored with parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, and celery. There's good reason for that foil wrap, which I rewrapped, imperfectly, after taking my photos. Ideally you should peel back just enough for each bite; otherwise, watch where you drip.
Also shown: the current truck, its predecessor, and the operation's small restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens.
Patacon Pisao (previously also known as El Dugout)
Truck: 431 W. 202nd St. (Ninth-Tenth Aves.), Manhattan
Restaurant: 85-22 Grand Ave. (Haspel-Van Horn Sts.), Elmhurst, Queens