Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine (Miami Beach, FL)
We LOVE Cuban food. Louisville is blessed with some great little Cuban joints, which we loved to visit when we lived there, but we knew that Miami was going to give us a much better selection of Cuban spots to check out. Thus, we knew we were getting Cuban for dinner on our first night in Miami Beach!
We again checked out BringFido.com to see what Cuban spots in walking distance of our hotel might pop up. Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine was only a mile and a half away, so we decided that would work and give us a chance to see a little bit of North Beach on the walk.
There are only 3 or 4 tables on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, which is the only place dogs are allowed. Lucky for us, one of the tables was still available, so we took a seat and got Knox situated underneath. Then we grabbed a half carafe of the homemade Sangria (or “nectar of the gods” according to Edie) and studied the menu to decide what to eat.
One of our favorite dishes at the Cuban spots back in Louisville is lechon asado, a roast pork dish. We decided that we had to try it here since we could at least make a comparison with the versions we’d tried back home. We were definitely not disappointed.
Our order included a large portion of moist chunks of pork with onion pieces mixed in. The pork was tender, coming apart easily with a light touch of a fork, and incredibly flavorful. Although we both liked this dish before, the flavor at this restaurant was better than what we’d had before, though it could’ve had more of the citrus flavor that is a hallmark of lechon asado.
Ropa vieja – which translates from Spanish to mean “old clothes” – is a dish of shredded flank steak in a tomato-based sauce. Neither of us had tried it before (perhaps due to our love of lechon asado!), so since we were hungry enough for 2 entrees, we decided this beef dish might be a nice way to round out the chicken appetizer and the accompanying pork entree.
This turned out to be a great choice. Our order came with an ample portion of a beef in a very soupy tomato sauce. The tomato-based sauce was spicy and flavorful but not overpoweringly hot. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender, too.
Empanadas de Pollo
Although the restaurant served complimentary crusty, buttery Cuban bread to eat while we drank and checked out the menu, we decided we were hungry enough to get an appetizer along with 2 entrees (the Sangria probably helped this decision…). We agreed on the chicken empanadas to start us off.
Our order came with 3 large empanadas. The dough was flaky, buttery and fried to perfection. Each empanada was stuffed full of shredded chicken, moistened by a flavorful tomato-based sauce. The sauce was spicy, but, like the sauce on the ropa vieja, not too hot, and didn’t overpower the chicken. They were incredible!
The Entree Sides – Rice, Black Beans & Sweet Plantains
Both entrees were served with sides of black beans, white rice and fried sweet plantains. They were all pretty good although not the most exceptional we’ve ever had (the plantains weren’t very sweet, the black beans were a bit soupy and the white rice was, well, white rice).
Our server, Monica, was incredibly friendly. She took our order promptly, got us that second carafe of Sangria when we decided one just wasn’t enough, and chatted with us at the end of the meal about Miami weather. We were able to have a pretty leisurely dinner and then continue sitting around to finish our drinks without feeling the slightest bit rushed.
If you exclude the alcohol, our total bill (including tip) was roughly $33.00 for an appetizer and 2 entrees that left us so stuffed we took home half of the lechon asado and about half of the beans and rice from that meal. For a city as pricey as Miami, we think that’s a great deal!
Unfortunately, the addition of 2 half carafes of Sangria (we totally should have just gotten the full carafe at the beginning!) took our total bill to more than double that…
The Doggy Bag, By Knox
Finally another restaurant that understands the true value of dogs! Although I received no bowl of water from the server, Mommy and Scott were smart enough to bring a paper cup from the hotel for me. Mommy was also nice enough to keep slipping me bites of bread, empanada, pork and beef under the table – which was all awesome!!! Too bad I didn’t actually get to sit at the table.