You know you are having dinner with a great group hounds when, me, as the host with ill sense of timing, comes running into Café Atlantic and is happily informed that Tapas were on their way
Hounds know how to go ahead and order from a good menu when they see it, and at Café Atlantic, the menu is indeed full of absolute goodness
After falling back in love with their Cuban Sandwich recently, I decided to host a dinner there to try their other Cuban Specialties. And so, we tried (Prices may have changed slightly from the menu I have)
Tapas Plate ($15): A large plate of all sorts of different Spanish Sausages and Meats. All the meats were top notch. There was also yummy Manchengo cheese and quince paste as well as Piquillo pepper stuffed with a red pepper purree that was SO good I scraped it of the plate!! . The Tapas plate came out with crispy Cuban Crackers and their absolutely ADDICITING crusty Cuban buttered bread SO good The only this, too little cheese, Quince Paste and I could have a bucket of that puree LOL! :)
To eat I got a taste of:
* Ropa Vieja ($13.00):, made in the traditional fashion with beef. The meat was tender, and flavorful. However, the salsa was much too one note (tomato). If youve had the Duck Ropa Vieja at Xiomara (I think their best dish), this is a completely different beast (its not even a fair comparison) but you also get a TON more Comes with their ripe and wonderfully fried plantains and a bit of rice
* Picadillo Classico ($12.00): I loved this more than my Ropa Vieja. The ground beef spicing of olives and capers was perfect balanced and still gave a punch. Also served with those wonderful fried plantains and rice!
* Pierna de Lechon Asada ($14.00): This is the dish I hold ever Cuban restaurant accountable for. I absolutely ADORE roast pork and Lechon is one of the reasons. I always order it at Versailles and was a bit dispointed when I saw this arrive and it looked a little DRY. Nevertheless, I took a nibble and it wasnt dry or tough at all infact, it was melty and tasty and just as good as Versailles, if not better because its defiantly a better cut of meat they serve This is served with yummy steamed Yucca and just about the BEST Moros and Christianos Ive tried anywhere Hmmmm
* Rabo Encendido ($13.00): This was just BEAUTIFUL! SEVERAL Ox tails presented over a rich stew. The meat was absolutely melty and wonderful. The owner of this dish proclaimed it SO much better than the version she had Madres This is served with Tostones.
* Aijiaco ($8.00): This is a Cuban kitchen sink stew with Jerked Beef Brisket, Yuca, Squash, Corn, Plaintains and other just YUMMY things. For being so complex, the taste was rather simple. Bit it was defiantly hearty
I didnt try, but I heard raves about the Bacalo a la Vizcaina (Salt Cod) ($13.00). The filet was a huge slab and looked absolutely perfectly cooked Also we quite a bit of dispointment over one of the soups One of the hounds ordered Potage de Garbanzos con Patas. Which was a chickpea soup made with Chorizo, Saffron and Potatoes and the menu promised pigs feet Well when the soup arrived, the hound instantly started to dig for her feet and she could not find any The waiter apologized and said the feet broke down in the soup Ive never seen a hound so heart broken and a waiter so flustered I felt bad for them both. First for the hound who didnt get what she wanted (I can so relate) and second for the clueless waiter who probably has never had anyone demand their pig feet LOL!! :)
Also, SO could not attend so I brought him home a Cuban and Black Bean Soup (One of this favorite things). Sadly the Cuban didnt travel all that great and the soup for him was a little bland. He much prefers both the Cuban and the Soup at our local joint El Rincon Criollo on Sepulveda near Culver in Culver City.
And finally, we didnt pass up a chance to try the desserts!!
We had Flan which was from the firm creamy school. Also Bunuellos, which were WAY different than Mexican ones. They were thick figure eight pastries dusted in sugar. They had a texture and taste that reminds me of Indian Sweets made with Garbanzo flour very interesting. And finally, Warm Bread Pudding. I think the best dessert, but I wasnt too impressed (Especially after having Xiomaras heavenly Chocolate Souffle )
All in all, we left the meal very happy and satisfied with our into Cuban foods. Plus, we left with some GREAT news! Café Atlantic is moving Right next door to Xiomara and because of that is now going to be able to serve Xiomaras AMAZING Mojito!! Those Tapas and that Mojito, we are going to be making more trips to Pasadena for sure! :)