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Cuban sandwich

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I saw a segment today on the Food Network where they featured a "Cuban" style sandwich. The sandwich is similar to a submarine sandwich, however, a "Cuban" style roll (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside) is used instead of a french roll. It is piled high with an equal amount of ham and roast pork, cheese and lettuce. It is then placed under a "George Foreman Style" grill to melt the cheese. Anyone out there in Chowland know where I can find such a sandwich in San Francisco? Thanks.

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  1. The only Cuban sandwich I have ever come across in the Bay Area is in the restaurant at the public Metropolitan Golf Links golf course near the Oakland airport. The sandwich was OK, however it was not exactly "piled high" with ham and pork.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      a cuban restaurant opened in sf recently. its called HABANA. you might give them a call.they are on geary blvd i believe.

      1. re: joe

        I had my last Cuban sandwich in Miami 3 months ago (how could one not?). "Piled high" meat is an American aberration. The important thing is the crusty bread,two types of pork (cured and fresh) and of course, pickles.

        1. re: Lisa C

          Thank you. Yes, the whole point is intense flavor - from the cured pork and the garlicky roast with that great touch of sour of the slivered pickle - and not huge volume.

    2. There is a taco truck at 13th/Harrison that has Cuban sandwiches. You will see from the thread below that the reviews are not raving, but maybe we need another pass at the Cuban sandwiches. Please report back if you try them!

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. h
        HungryGrayCat

        I had a Cuban sandwich in the bar at Acme Chophouse last year. It was pretty tasty.

        1. I can't remember the name of the place, but there is a Cuban restaurant in Palo Alto (that was talked about a couple of years ago) that served these sandwiches. I ordered one when we went (based on Melanie Wong's rave reviews). It was pretty good but a bit too salty for me I thought...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wendy Lai

            La Bodeguita Del Medio

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            La Bodeguita Del Medio
            463 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

          2. Bi Rite (small deli/market on 18th Street, for those just exiting their cave) makes a Cuban sandwich. I thought it was good, but I know nothing about Cuban sandwiches. It was warm, the roll was indeed crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I remember the meat was orangy-pink colored from whatever marinade they had it in, and there was plenty of meat (not Max's deli plenty, but more than I expected). Somebody who knows should go try one and tell the rest of us if it's worthy.....

            2 Replies
            1. re: bubbles

              No kidding! I plan to try Bi-Rite's cuban ASAP. Was it pressed/grilled, with swiss cheese, mustard and pickles? Was there ham AND pulled pork?

              The need for a good cuban sandwich just plagues me. Thanks for the tip.

              1. re: Missy P.

                There were definately pickles. And mustard. It was pressed, but on their grill, I think, not a sandwich press. I don't remember cheese. I do remember that the meat was really good, but I don't remember if there was more than one kind -- I think their sign says it's pork, so it's probably just pork (although ham is pork, so who knows). Like I said, I thought it was a good sandwich, but I have no idea if it was a good CUBAN sandwich...

            2. one of my fondest dining memories of NY was the cuban sandwich along with a side order of fried plantains.

              the cuban place in Palo Alto is called la bodeguita del medio: www.labodeguita.com. pretty decent cuisine, but i'll have to try out their sandwiches too!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Roz

                Sandwiches at Bogedeta are great at the lunch hour. Dinners are, too but I do not think they serve them that late.

                1. I recently ate at Laurel's, a Cuban place on Oak near Gough. Though I didn't have the Cuban sandwich, the seafood stew and the tostones were both excellent, giving me high hopes for their sandwiches. The bread I tried was great, too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: david kaplan

                    Don't get your hopes up. I tried the cuban sandwich, it was very disappointing.

                  2. My husband really enjoys the Cuban pork sandwich at Birley Sandwiches at Embarcadero 4. Not quite sure its authentic, but apparently its very tasty.

                    1. I don't eat pork, so I don't eat 'em, but I'm pretty sure Atlas Cafe still has a cuban sandwich that is supposed to be pretty good.

                      It's between the Mission and Potrero Hill on 20th and Florida.

                      1. I don't know very much about Cuban sandwiches, but I often order one at the Grove Cafe on Fillmore. There's no lettuce on it, but plenty of pickles which gives it a nice tart flavor.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: butter

                          Lettuce on Cuban sandwiches is an Americanized aberration (commonly thought to have originated in FL). A traditional sandwich would have ham, roast pork (marinated in mojo), cheese, pickles, and mustard - and, most importantly, on Cuban-style bread... then pressed.

                          I haven't found a good Cuban here in SF... so I'm planning on biting the bullet and just making my own.

                        2. Not in SF, but in San Rafael you can find a yummy "Cubano" at Sol Food! Yum...with a side of maduros you'll be set!

                          1. In Laurel Heights, there is the all Cuban cafe/restaurant Lo Cubano that makes a fairly decent one.

                            www.cafelocubano.com

                            1. Bumped topic alert, most of the posts above are from 2004.

                              Habana on Van Ness closed.

                              Lo Cubano's not Cuban, it's a Cuban-themed prototype for a chain of cafes.

                              Most of the posts in this topic are from 2004. Here are some more recent topics:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372777
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38005...
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/319916
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45128
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325181

                              1. Delissio's market on Broderick and Oak has a Cuban pannini. I had one the other day and thought it was pretty good...but it's the first time I've had one. It was pulled pork, ham, cheese ( I think), pickle, grilled on a press.

                                1. The Cuban Paninis at Birley's at 4 Embarcadero are wonderful.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gemster

                                    The Hobnob on Park St. in Alameda has a Cuban Sandwich as an "American Tapa", it has roasted porkloin, black forest ham, and the swiss cheese and pickle with the "Americanization" of the sandwich being grilled and pressed on texas toast!! It is really good especially with their truffle fries -worth the trip.

                                  2. I've seen them on the menu, but I haven't tried them at the Florida Street Grill near 19th.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Civil Bear

                                      I've had it at Florida St. and it's quite good. Pressed and grilled, with pickles.

                                    2. I was at the Marina Safeway yesterday and noticed that they now have a "Cuban" sandwich as one of their panini sandwiches in the deli. I have no idea if it's any good, but maybe someone can check them out.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: The Librarian

                                        It's good, but it's not really a Cuban sandwich -- it's a pork panini somebody read Hemingway to. :)

                                        The best Cuban sandwich I've had in the Bay Area was probably the one at Sol Food in San Rafael, although the one at La Bodeguita Del Medio in Palo Alto is good. Both of them are, however, dismayingly expensive compared to what I'm used to (particularly La Bodeguita's) -- I moved out here from Tampa, Florida, a few years ago.

                                        There are a couple Cuban restaurants in San Jose, but the only one I've been to didn't seem to actually have a Cuban sandwich. Go figure.

                                          1. re: Chipotle

                                            I've tried the Sol Food version. Tell them to hold the mustard, and it's a real Cuban. Not bad at all!

                                            I'm guessing at most of these places, the goal isn't to duplicate the original (aka what you'd find in FL or Cuba) but to offer their own spin on it. There just aren't that many people from those places around here, so nobody will care if it's not the same.

                                            1. re: Chipotle

                                              I am surprized that anyone (especially a Tampan) thinks the Sol food Cuban sandwich is more than barely edible. Shredded pork...come on! It was skimpy and rather tasteless. I will not return. I'll just wait until I get to Tampa again for the real thing. It is so easy to make, I'm surprised Sol Food messes it up so well. I did like the shrimp and rice dish, tho.

                                              1. re: OldTimer

                                                I don't remember Sol Food's Cubano as having shredded or skimpy pork. But it's been a while. Does that describe what others have had there recently or was OldTimer's experience a bad day there?

                                                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                                  Don't think it was a bad day. Though I didn't have as strong feelings about Sol Food's Cubano as OldTimer, I was left unimpressed. It is a fine sandwich, but didn't do a thing to satisfy my Cubano cravings.

                                                2. re: OldTimer

                                                  Like Mick below, the one I had certainly wasn't skimpy on the pork, and it wasn't shredded, either -- at least, not beyond just being roasted to the point of falling apart, which I don't consider a bad thing. It's possible that they're just not very consistent. Since I live and work in the South Bay, I'm not likely to get back up there any time to try again. (While I did think it was good, it wasn't "drive 70 miles each way on a regular basis" good.)

                                                  I'll probably try Habana Cuba's sometime, though. The best Cuban I've had out here is one that I made myself after doing a mojito roast pork, but "my place" isn't a very good answer to "where can you get a good Cuban."

                                            2. try this place: http://www.birleys.com/menu_order_for...
                                              i've not yet had, i believe, a truly authentic cuban sandwich, but this sandwich is pretty good. it has the requisite pickles, roasted pork, ham . .. this one has a spicy orange-colored sauce which i'm pretty sure is typical, but it's pretty good. the bread, however, is not a roll, but it is grilled, like a panini. anyway, it's good, but again, not sure if i've had the real deal yet. WHY OH WHY did i not have one all those times i went to miami?

                                              1. Myth Cafe/Cafe Myth on Washington has a pulled pork panini with cheese, mustard, pickles, ham and the pulled pork you're craving. Give it a shot.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    No. I walked by today and there was a sign on the door "Closed for Remodeling."

                                                1. There's a great place in San Rafael called Sol Food..I think it's on 3rd St. Great sandos-they do a Cuban-plus a few others. They do a beef w/ avocado grilled-sounds weird, but it's heaven...it's casual and crowded, but open late on the weekends for the after bar crowd...only drawback is no beer/wine...the food is heaven though!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Satyr

                                                    I just went there. Not very impressed. I reported on it in this more recent Cuban sandwich topic:

                                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/49003...

                                                  2. Bumped topic alert, most of the posts above are from 2004. Cafe Lo Cubano, Myth Cafe, and Habana on Van Ness closed.

                                                    Here's the most recent topic on the subject:

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600660