The Quest for the Perfect Cubano

There's endless debate about what constitutes a "proper" cubano, but at a basic level, it's a roast pork and ham sandwich, with mustard, pickles, and melted cheese (traditionally Swiss but sometimes Gruyère). cubantonian insists that the roast pork is what makes or breaks a cubano—it must be succulent and juicy.

Boston has a number of cubano options, some apparently more traditional than others. On a recent sandwich crawl, yumyum checked out two longtime Jamaica Plain favorites: El Oriental de Cuba and Miami Restaurant. However, it was a stop at Tostado in Roslindale that really caught her attention. There the cubano is served on a roll, and the pork is shredded Dominican-style. "It hadn't been pressed long enough as the innards weren't all melty and incorporated together. However, the balance of mustard, pickle, pork and the ham and cheese was just super," says yumyum. "It was a little heavy on the pork, but with flavorful meat like that, it wasn't a bad thing."

Cubano options also abound north of the river. Several hounds recommend the version at Chez Henri, while others suggest ordering a cheaper takeaway sandwich down the street at Montrose Spa. Bob MacAdoo recommends the cubano at Izzy's in Cambridge (only available on Fridays, and "very underrated"), while Tonality666 likes the version at City Slicker Cafe in Somerville.

Finally, Chocomom recently tried the cubano at Borinquen Bakery & Cafe in Dorchester, and was pleasantly surprised. "The sandwich is made with their pernil that is doused with the liquid from the roasting pan," she says. While it may not be totally traditional, Chocomom says it's "juicy and addicting."

For other cubano recommendations, check out the full thread, linked below.

El Oriental de Cuba [Jamaica Plain]
416 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
617-524-6464

Miami Restaurant [Jamaica Plain]
381 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
617-522-4644

Tostado [Roslindale]
3880 Washington Street, Roslindale
617-522-0578

Chez Henri [Harvard Square]
1 Shepard Street, Cambridge
617-354-8980

Montrose Spa [Harvard Square]
1646 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
617-547-5053

Izzy's Restaurant & Sub Shop [Kendall Square]
169 Harvard Street, Cambridge
617-661-3910

City Slicker Cafe [Somerville]
588 Somerville Avenue, Somerville
617-625-0700

Borinquen Bakery & Cafe [Dorchester]
112 Stoughton Street, Dorchester
617-282-2500

Discuss: Cuban Sandwich

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