This space, hidden away in a mall off Brand, has cycled through several identities, including a pleasant little Italian joint, an uninspired sports bar, and now a dignified Cuban restaurant.
Salsa music winds between square white tablecloths, upon which are frosted angular vases with a single pink and white bloom. The paneled walls are white and severe, interrupted only by framed paintings of tropical abandon.
A basket of flattened Italian loaf, halved and buttered, is placed before you, which will jeopardize your ability to finish your meal. Do try the frioles negros (black bean soup), comfort food extraordinaire; the soup is done to perfection, the beans soaked with themselves, with flecks of green chile and white onion.
I always try first the Cuban sandwiches at a Cuban place, and the media noche is fairly irresistible: ham, roast pork and swiss on buttered, lightly grilled semi-sweet bread, the pickles light and unobtrusive, and the sandwich is half again as large as the ones at Cafe Tropical. It's made optimal with dashes of Faraon green habañero sauce.
Next time: lechon asado, roast pork with moro (white rice cooked with the black beans) and cassava fries. And, uh, flan de panetela (custard over yellow cake). Can't be bad.
The crisply luxurious interior gives the impression of great cost, but La Cubana is really affordable. Yes, getting the Shrimp in Spicy Tomato sauce is going to run up to seventeen bucks or so, but my huge sandwich, black bean soup and iced tea totaled under twelve. La Cubana is closed on Mondays, which smacked me a good one when I was nicely dressed and in the mood to try them out.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Cuban, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock )
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