[DFW] Cuban Food at Carribean Cafe
A while back I posted a query on Chowhound on Cuban food in the DFW area after returning from a vacation in Miami, and on those recommendations I checked out Cuba Libre, whose cuisine is creative and atmosphere delightful, but not quite the authentic Cuban cuisine I was searching for.
After searching for Cuban on Guidelive, I came across this review http://www.guidelive.com/portal/page?... on Carribean Cafe and decided to give it a try.
Tucked away in a plain strip mall on the corner of Belt Line & Webb Chapel in Carrollton, Caribbean Cafe, from the outside, is just a flashy green neon sign with some dark paned windows. Inside, however, sits a small and intimate space with bistro styled tables and a full service bar. At 8:30pm on a Wednesday night, the space was filled with a group of three women, a couple, and a family (and us, the only non-Spanish speaking ones).
Onto the food! The menu was extensive, 4 pages of appetizers, salads, entrees, specialties, and seafood items (no jerk chicken in sight, it was definitely Cuban). Sadly, I wasn't as hungry as usual at dinner time, so I skipped the appetizer and ordered the Ropa Vieja ($9.99), shredded stewed beef with bell peppers and onions. The meat was well-seasoned and tender, with just a hint of spiciness. The entree is served with your choice of black beans and rice or a mixture of both. I chose the mixture, but next time will opt for them separately as cooking the black beans and the rice together took away from the moistness of the black beans and the texture of the rice, though did give the rice a nice flavor. Fried plantains also came with the meal, you can choose either caramelized and sweet, or battered and fried to a crunch. I chose caramelized and loved it. The plate was served with a slice of tomato and a slice of fresh avocado, and with a dash of salt that made my day.
My companion ordered the picadillo plate ($9.99), seasoned ground beef with potatoes. Meat was well seasoned, and surprise, was cooked with olives. My companion is not typically a fan of olives, but he actually liked the way it gave flavor to the ground beef in this case (and actually ate all the olives!) He opted for the crunchy plantains, which had an interesting batter but I stand by my choice of the caramelized ones.
We ordered flan for dessert ($3.50). The dessert was definitely a sizable portion, tasty with a silky texture.
Service was friendly, we were greeted by practically the entire staff (hanging out by the bar since it was close to closing time) when we left. I will definitely be back to explore the other options on the menu, things like puerco asada, chicken with yellow rice (menu states allow 45 minutes for this specialty), wood-plank salmon, and the many shrimp options.
1000 Webb Chapel Rd
Carrollton, TX 75006
Thanks, Donnaaries! I've been looking for Cuban food in the Dallas area for years, and this is the first I've heard of an authentic place. I'll definitely check it out soon.
Good report. I stumbled across this little place a couple of months ago while I was in the area running an errand. I stopped and went in to check it out and got the impression that it was family owned and operated. The first person I talked to did not speak English but the person that came out to take my order was very helpful. I only ordered a couple of sandwichs to go (the Cuban and another that was basically a Ropa Vieja sandwich) and a side of the beans (without rice)and everything was very good. I also got an order of the flan to go and it too was very good - I'd definitely order it again. I've been meaning to go back and try some of the dinner items -the picadillo in particular. I was there around 6:00 on a Saturday and although that it a little early for dinner it was not very crowded. There was one Cuban family being served but that was it. I hope this little place makes it.
queenie (formerly LindaH)
Donnaaries, the Cuban version of picadillo traditionally contains olives and is usually served with black beans over rice (which are cooked separately then combined to serve). Ground-meat based picadillo is part of most Latin American cuisines.
I have a question for you DFW ‘hounds. I've noticed a lot of links in the past two weeks to reviews on guidelive.com, which I believe is the web version of the Dallas Morning News. Do you consider this source a must-consult for chowhounds?
Maybe you could give me a simple yea or nay. I don't want to get this whole thread moved to a different board, but I am curious. I'm planning a trip to Dallas and never thought of looking to the DMN for advice.
I think many people (me included) sometimes refer others to Guidelive to answer questions such as, "Does anyone know where (fill in the blank) is located?" It's one resource, among many. Personally, I would give more credibility to a two-sentence review on Chowhound than to a 200-word puff-up on Guidelive.
I was surprised by use the olives since I'm not as familiar with Cuban cuisine. I've only had the Mexican version. I really enjoyed this version, though!
I wouldn't say that DMN is a must consult, but it certainly is a good place to start for people who are not familiar with the area (not saying this necessarily applies to you). Unless the joint is a total hole-in-the-wall, GuideLive seems to have their fingers on reviewing them.
I know this isn’t the Home Cooking board, but if you’re interested, here’s a link to one recipe for Cuban picadillo:
Regarding guidelive.com, I meant more along the lines of: Do the reviewers know their chow? And if so, which kinds? I've been lead astray too many times to take things on faith. After all, a food review is only as good as the person doing it.
Well, the last time I had a Cuban sandwich at Cuba Libre, I was quite impressed. Little Havana, maybe not, but a very well put together, clean, sandwich.