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Short(ish) review of Cafe Laguardia West in Oak Park - excellent!

Matthewh | Sep 18, 200409:16 PM

So my wife is working late tonight, and I was driving down North Ave by Oak Park Ave and noted a sign saying Cuban cuisine at a restaurant that I somehow had missed before (maybe because it is right next to Amarind Thai, which usually holds my attention). On the spur of the moment, I decided to get takeout from them. The restaurant itself is small but decorated decently, with a cute, festive mural on one wall. It also appears to be BYOB so far, which they seem to want you to do according to a sign in front. There was only one couple in the place (Saturday at 6 pm), and they had a bottle of wine. Looking through the menu, I decided to get the Cuban Island oxtail special, which was on the special menu (~$15). Ten minutes later I lugged home a heavy take-out carton.

Now to the good part: the oxtail was simply amazing. The menu stated it had been marinated in red wine for three days, then sauteed with onions, etc. There were about 5 or 6 large oxtails with meat falling off the bone in a rich red sauce. It came with black beans and rice, plus boiled yuca and lettuce and tomato. I am sure oxtail may not be for everyone, but if you like somewhat fatty meat with a marrow taste, this dish is for you.

I will definately be back, and probably will share this dish with my wife and maybe some extra rice plus one of the appetizers like the plantains or empanadas. I am also interested to see if their cuban sandwiches are any good (they have another branch in the city, but reviews for the sandwich sound fair). So in conclusion, I urge you to go and at least try this one dish, because judging from the crowd on a Saturday (albeit early) night, I don't know how long it will be there.

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