La Bodeguita Del Medio -- Palo Alto
El Bodeguita Del Medio -- Palo Alto (463 California).
Mojitos. They pride themselves on them and these were great. We try to make these at home and they never seem to turn out quite right. We've learned that over muddling the mint leaves is a mistake. You don't want the bits to be so small that you can't avoid getting them in you mouth with every sip. Maybe it's our rum (we normally have Mount Gay on hand). The menu said that they use Bacardi Limon which I've never tried straight so I'm not sure how it compares.
I had the special: Mojo Pork. A very manly dish without a vegetable in sight. Ok, beans, rice and plantains but nothing green. The pork was slow cooked and very tender marinated in garlic and lime. The texture was similar to carnitas but not dry. It came piled on rice and black beans with lots of onions. In addition there were excellent fried plantains which are among my favorite things and are why I seek out Cuban restaurants.
Cheyenne had Plato De Vegetal (Black bean cakes, plantains, a sort of yam, sliced zucchini, and green beans with garlicky sauce stripes). This was the only vegetarian item on the menu although there are several fish/seafood choices. I'm always suspicious of food that comes with "sauce stripes". However, the vegetables were cooked perfectly and the sauces were good, stripes or no.
We've eaten here several times (usually for lunch) over the last few years and it's always been delicious. It was busy on Friday night but we were seated almost immediately without reservations. We can in early though (6:30).
Can anyone recommend any other Cuban restaurants in the bay area? If you're in LA try Versailles in Encino. It's more family oriented and arguably not as good as El Bodeguita, but I recommend it.