Restaurants & Bars

Washington DC & Baltimore

Cuba Libre opens in Penn Quarter


Restaurants & Bars Washington DC & Baltimore

Cuba Libre opens in Penn Quarter

mariat63 | | Oct 4, 2010 01:23 PM

Had been to the one in Philly and was excited about the DC opening. I am Cuban-American so my standards for Cuban food are pretty high and unfortunately the DC Cuba Libre did not meet them.

The atmosphere is very Disney like with it's movie-set decor. The servers are very eager to please though they are working through kinks as they get opened. Our server however knew NOTHING about the wine list. She confessed she was not a wine drinker and could only say that the one she had tasted was "smooth" and would recommend. They do not have a sommelier so you are on your own if you want wine. However, the mojitos are amazing (if pricey) so perhaps that is why they don't have knowledgeable wine servers!

1. Tuna ceviche- more like a plate of diced tuna sushi, not bad but again, not cuban nor cheap! You are better off going to Ceiba for ceviche or a sushi place
2. Yuca frieds served with ailoli - rather bland, you couldn't really decipher b/w fried potato or yucca, the flavor of the yucca didn't really come through
3. Spinach fritters - again, not cuban food but their attempt at appeasing vegetarians in DC I suspect

Main dishes
1. Pork/Lechon- a cuban classic, I try this at every new cuban restaurant I go to. This one was nouveau, served with cole slaw on top and a bit dry. Why don't you just give us some juicy pork with a side of white rice, black beans and plantains??? (each of those sides is $5 extra by the way)
2. Shrimp with cane and stuffed fried jalapeno - average and not cuban (mexicans eat jalapenos!), seemed like something you would find on the menu at Chili's
3. Black paella - not too bad though mahi mahi was a bit overcooked and only one shrimp in the seafood mix

If you want authentic, good Cuban food in DC, I suggest you find a good Cuban friend who can cook you a homemade meal! Otherwise I think Cuba Libre only adds to the Disney atmosphere that Penn Quarter has become and will likely be a draw for out-of-town conventioneers with an expense budget to go along!

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