Changes are astir at this popular Cuban café. Chef Carlo Allesina has taken over and shortened the menu. The appetizer department was hit especially hard with the “letting go” of the stuffed avocados, shrimp and chorizo croquettes and coco rum ceviche. There’s nothing like the addition of something fried (calamari) and melted cheese (Cuban queso) to make up for their loss.
The sandwich division lost three options, but don’t freak out -- the Calle Ocho mini fritas are still in place. The mini burgers, packed with huge flavor, are sure to convert any White Castle devotee. Proof that full-flavored things come in small packages; the meat sandwiched between two buns is as juicy as Vida Guerra’s posterior. The popular Cubano hasn’t received its pink slip, much to the enjoyment of pulled roast pork lovers. The ham, pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard combo on pressed Cuban bread would have been sorely missed. Two main entrees were cut, but the beef and chicken churrasco, empanadas and grilled kebabs remain.
For owner Alberto Lombardi, who owned a restaurant in Miami more than 15 years ago, La Cubanita’s menu reflects his own experiences spent hanging out at a Cuban café not far from where he worked. Lombardi’s wife Vivian is Cuban, making La Cubanita a labor of love for the restaurant magnate in more ways than one.
Luckily the specialty cocktail count is the same. We recommend putting a stogie in the pocket of your best guayabera shirt and ordering a Hemingway Daiquiri or a Mojito Martini. Also, DJs will start mixing it up on the weekends once the warmer weather hits.
Here's a tasty recipe for La Cubanita's Key Lime Pie.
1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 tbsp. sugar
1 (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
1 tbsp. grated key lime zest
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
Directions: Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix well and press into a 9” pie plate. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl gently whisk together condensed milk, egg, yolks, key lime juice and zest. Pour into the prepared crust, return to the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, let cool and serve with whipped cream and mint leaves.