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Restaurants & Bars 1

Cuban Bistro in Alhambra

ipse dixit | Jul 3, 200411:31 PM

A bunch of friends and myself decided to try the Cuban Bistro in downtown Alhambra (28 West Main Street;(626) 308-3350) for dinner.

We all had heard pretty good things about the restaurant but our dinner was sorely lacking in both quality and authenticity.

Most of the main entrees we tried were boring, bland and banal -- all seemed to be garnished with the same tropical salsa, fried plaintains and Uncle Ben's/Rice-a-Roni rice pilaf.

There were four of us and we decided to try some of the appetizers. We ordered the deep fried beef-filled mash potato balls -- it sounded interesting but came off like a bad 3rd grade experiment. The calamari was no better, the batter overdone and the sauce (red bell pepper) bland and runny. The "large, house made" crabcake was a disaster -- there was no taste of crab (no doubt covered up by the over-the-top lobster sauce (ick!)) and the omnipresent tropical fruit salsa.

Onto the main courses. There was a house special seabass/salmon/mash potato combination described artfully as a "neopolitan" like creation. The fish (both the salmon and seabass) tasted of the frozen and not fresh variety and were generally dry and tasteless. The other special we tried was the roasted chicken wrapped, in of all things, bacon! This was placed on a bed of that aforementioned Uncle Ben's/Rice-a-Roni granulated rice pilaf and topped with, yes, the fruit salsa. Saying the dish was busy is like saying Madonna is just a singer. The other two dishes we ordered, the skirt steak and the grilled mahi mahi were equally non-eventful. The steak, described as "shredded" skirt steak, reminded everyone of a sloppy joe's concoction and the mahi seamed like it was "aged" and caught back in the stone age -- not fresh at all.

Dessert was better, relatively speaking. The flan was passable but cloyingly sweet.

In any event, if you want cuban food I would suggest looking elsewhere.

Sidenote: the service was fine.

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