Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Cumberland and President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas

I went to this restaurant really wanting it to be great. For weeks I had seen the new sign on the building as I passed that corner getting on the Interstate. There was something intriguing about a “Mexi-Cuban Kitchen.”

But I have to admit, I was more anxious to find out about the Cuban part than the Mexi part.

Really, I should qualify that we went at lunch and the dinner session may be completely different. That being said…

From the menu one gets the idea that Cubans only eat variations of the Cubano sandwich, salad or soup. I had really hoped for a bit more adventurous selection of dishes to try. The young lady who waited on us strongly recommended the Cuban BLT which I just couldn’t bring myself to order. I just don’t think of BLT’s and Cuba in the same bubble.

We settled on a classic Cubano sandwich and a grilled chicken variant of the above. And, started with the “famous” Grandma King’s recipe hot sauce. This was delivered to our table along with a beautiful bowl of red corn chips.

But one bite told me that this was nothing more than canned tomato sauce. I mean just the sauce and nothing else. Well, there was a sprig of cilantro on top. I asked the waiter if she thought maybe the chef ran out of peppers. She looked puzzled and asked, “is it not hot enough?”

I told her that hot wasn’t even in the equation. She tasted it and pronounced it “just tomato sauce, it tastes like pizza sauce!” She took the offending bowl to the manager who marched determinedly into the kitchen.

Moments later he came out and apologized to us, telling us that the prep chef had failed to add any ingredients to it and thanked us for letting them know early enough in the day to fix it.

The waiter gave us a free bowl of cheese dip to make up for it.

When the sandwiches came, they were good and filling, but somehow I felt let down. It just wasn’t the exotic sandwich that I expected. In fact, both of them were pretty run-of-the-mill.

When the check came, it had scrawled across the top, “next time order the BLT!”


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