The wait is over. Casa Cubana had a soft opening yesterday. I picked up a take-out menu around 4:30 when they were setting up for dinner. When I placed my order around 7:00, it sounded busy. When I went to pick up my order at 7:30 it was jam-packed. I was expecting more of a take-out joint with a few seats, but it actually seats 22 and every chair was taken.
I ordered an appetizer of cod fritters ($5), a cubano sandwich ($6) and an entree of roast pork (lechon asado - $13) for the two of us. Looking at what was on the tables, it seemed like the most popular dish was the ropa vieja. Oh well. The staff was handling the crowd alright and we got to watch for a few minutes because our food wasn't quite ready. BYOB is allowed, several tables had open bottles. Everything we saw looked, and smelled, right. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood.
When we got home, the cod fritters were still hot and crisp. They came with a cilantro tartar sauce and were delicious.
The cubano bread was light but chewy. The meats and pickles good but not great. Not a disappointment, but room for improvement.
The roasted pork came with black beans and rice cooked together (arroz congri) and yucca with garlic sauce (yuca con mojo). The sides were very good and half of the pork was tender, moist and good. Unfortunately, the other half was too dry and tough, over-caramelized. Not in a good cracklings way either.Fortunately, the portion size was big enough that the good half was plenty of food.
Next time, and there will be a next time, I'm going for the ropa vieja.
Daily specials look interesting, especially pigs feet with chickpeas (Patas con garbanzo) on Tuesdays and pork chop stew (chuletas en salsa) on Saturdays.
There is a website listed on the menu ( www.lacasacubanarestaurant.com ) but it does not appear to be working.
Looking forward to exploring the rest of the menu and am still excited to have a new cuisine in town.
9 W. Grand St.