Cuban Revolution

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 14, 2007
dramatically lit bar with plenty of bright brushed aluminum and a frosted-texture coppery facing. Black-clad servers bustle about purposefully.
 
Choose your dining mood: cloth-topped table on the floor or informal café table along a bench the length of one wall. Potted palms and two slowly revolving palm-plait fans add a tropical touch. Complimentary corn chips and black bean dip make you feel like a guest. The sangria ($4.50 per glass, $16.50 per liter) has agreeable balance of fruit and kick; and the fresh mint leaves in the mojitos ($8.50) are muddled with a wooden pestle, just like they should be.
 
Although the food is still mainly rice and bean platters, and sandwiches, the menu has been expanded to include numerous traditional side dishes. We tried some of the additions in a Cuban Sampler ($11.95) appetizer. The medley consisted of a cup of nicely proportioned black bean and corn relish, and three each of four items: tostones, which are crisp, twice-fried disks of plantain; maduros, which are sautéed sweet plantains; minced ham croquettes; and papas rellenas, which are potato croquettes with a spiced beef center. The last two items are deep-fried, but not at all greasy, good for dipping in mojo, a preparation of lime and lemon juices. (The house hot sauce is also first-rate — intensely flavorful, yet not about to melt your fillings.)
 
I had enough of an appetite for a platter. The nicely seasoned ropa vieja ($10.75), stewed and slightly spiced shredded beef, had been appreciated on a prior visit. But now there is a new favorite: the pork platter ($11.50), with slices of the tasty marinated meat atop rice and beans. It comes with a side of Cuban toast (baguette-shaped white bread), and a cup of chopped lettuce, tomato, and onion, which the waiter forgot and I detected only later on the menu. The picadillo platter ($10.75) sounded promising for the next time: ground beef sautéed with garlic, onions, diced potatoes, and raisins.
 
Since the restaurant not only lays claim to “The World’s Best Sandwich” but has actually trademarked the phrase, such items are obviously a feature. Of course, starting the list is the Cuban sandwich ($6.58), containing roast pork, ham, salami, and pickles, somewhat flattened in a sandwich press, as tradition dictates. The contents aren’t heaped on deli style, so for those with more of an appetite there is “El Gordo” ($8.50), with double meats, although no salami, pickles, or complementary plantain chips. The latter was tasty and filling enough on a lunch visit for me to take half of it home.
 
Vegetarians can have a hard time at a place that doubles up the meat, but Johnnie did fine with a veggie Santiago wrap ($5.95), which forgoes the chicken on a regular Santiago ($6.75) while retaining the vegetables, rice, and cheddar. For another 80 cents, there is all that, plus fried sweet plantains in a Maduros wrap.
 
As for desserts, most hovering around $5, they are much improved from the previous place. That’s especially so for the flan ($4.25), that macho answer to crème brûlée, which now is a delicious wedge of custard. There are also a couple of chocolate offerings and our waiter’s favorite, vanilla tres leches cake.
 
Okay, maybe with all the current distractions the revolution won’t be televised. So why don't we commiserate about it here over a nice chilled glass of Cuban beer Hatuey or La Tropical (both $4.50)? 

Cuban Revolution | 50 Aborn St, Providence | Mon-Sat, 11 am-midnight | Major credit cards | Full bar | Sidewalk-level access | 401.331.8829

On the Web
Cuban Revolution: www.thecubanrevolution.com
<< first  ...< prev  514  |  515  |  516  |  517  |  518  |  519  |  520  |  521  |  522  |  523  | 

524 of 524 (results 524)
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Foods,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BILL RODRIGUEZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MEN AT WORK  |  April 16, 2014
    The Pulitzer Prize Board, which likes to honor theatrical gems of Americana, may have been remiss in not nominating David Rabe’s 1984 ' Hurlyburly .'
  •   SEARCHING FOR CLUES  |  April 09, 2014
    A "girl detective" makes her  world premiere.
  •   ROSE-COLORED MEMORIES  |  April 09, 2014
    Incessant media accounts of horrific events can prompt compassion fatigue.
  •   MENTAL SHRAPNEL  |  April 02, 2014
    Brave or foolhardy? The Wilbury Theatre Group is presenting Sarah Kane’s controversial Blasted , a 1995 play that at the time was decried as juvenile, taken to the woodshed by critics, and flayed to shreds.
  •   A ROWDY ROMP  |  March 26, 2014
    In his time, Georges Feydeau was to theater what McDonald’s is to cuisine — cheap, easy to consume, and wildly popular.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ