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Jun 11, 2007 06:07 AM

Oriental's cuban rocks.

I finally got around to El Oriental de Cuba and sampled their version of the Cuban sandwich - it was fantastic - very large, good meat, great flavors - the light bulb went off in my head - "Now I understand why people love this sandwich..." (Both the type and this particular version)

The Chez Henri version does not hold a candle to the EOdC - any other folks care to weigh in?

Also, great gooey caramelized fried ripe plantains - so good had to get another order to go to put over vanilla ice cream later. Can I start a campaign to replace fig-gy things with ripe plaintains? Plantains on pizza...plantains with kobe with me... ;)

Also just another good chow at Dok Bua on Friday night. Miang Kum, Duck Larb, Noodles, Mango with Sticky Rice.

Also a general shout-out to the friendly and professional service at both spots. They made me feel like a valued customer.

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  1. Wow, you got friendly enough service at EOdC to comment on it? That's a surprise.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      I've always found the service to be friendly and accomodating, especially given how busy they seem.

      1. re: Luther

        i have always found the service there to be friendly but always moving at the pace of an average glacier...

        1. re: Luther

          seems hit or miss to me, depending on the crowd. the first time i went back after the bombing we waited for an hour about with no buns, no drinks and they got my drink order wrong. but when i went back it was better. i do like the redecoration, though.

        2. re: Joanie

          It might have been in response to the fact that I was glowing after the first bite of the sandwich. ;)

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            Love El Oriental and will take it over CH any day. It might be a debate if they were the same price but there's no way CH's Cubano is twice as good as El O's.
            You also have the option of ordering other delicious and reasonably priced dishes.
            I like the authenticity of going into JP and speaking a little Spanish with the staff, which, incidentally doesn't seem to hurt the service.

            As for the service, my experience has been that the glacial pace is set by the kitchen more than the floor staff, which is no problem for me, as I wouldn't want the result of a rushed order.

            Avioding the lunch rush really pays dividends, timewise.

            As for the fried plantains, you're preaching to the choir here. Me gusta.

        3. yeah, i've been to EOdC 2 or 3 times and the service was a combo of surly, slow and indifferent each time.

          i guess i disagree about the cubano too. the one at EOdC is just fine, but the one at Chez Henri is drastically superior in my book. i don't think it's even remotely close. as for price: don't forget the price for the sandwich at CH comes with some plantain chips or something.

          i want to like EOdC more, but the combo of okay-food, sloooow service and merely average prices is not so appealing. if maybe they improved on just one of those things...

          3 Replies
          1. re: autopi

            EOdC's is more authentic, but the CH version is a better sandwich, in my humble opinion. It comes with dressed greens and the plaintain chips and I think some sauce for the chips?

            1. re: autopi

              I thought CH's Cubano was rather dry and flavorless in comparison to EOdC. Maybe I got it on an off night - and not to say it was a bad sandwich - just that EOdC's was bursting with flavor in comparison - the pork was more moist than CH, and both meats were more tender.

              We ought to line up a CH, an EOdC, an El Tiante's, and any other walk-on Cubanos for a blind taste test.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                After MANY years of CH cubanos, I can say that there are a few "off" nights where the sandwich just doesn't live up to its former glory. I don't get there nearly as often as I used to (better for the waistline!) but I recall Tuesday cubanos were always my favorite.

                If I'm going to throw down for such a calorie bomb, I'm still going for the CH cubano. Just like Dax said, it's a better sandwich, if not authentic.

            2. While it is not authentic, I prefer Chez Henri's sandwich. I think it is, actually, twice as good. For "authentic", I don't think El Oriental's is all that, but it certainly satisfies the craving.

              Dax posting reminds me that it was much easier to find decent Cuban sandwiches in Atlanta. Sure, EOdC isn't bad, but that's about it in this town. Miami Cafe? Meh. That's not a great selection.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Alcachofa

                I don't have a lot of experience with Cubanos from Miami, Tampa, or Cuba, but I do a good amount of (delicious) experience eating lots of them in Boston, Atlanta, and even a good one at my current locale in Birmingham. I would say the preparation of the sandwiches at EOdC, Miami Restaurant, Miami Cafe and I guess sometimes Montrose is fairly consistent with my (delicious) research in that they tend to revolve around Cuban bread, sliced, roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles and (sometimes) mustard, all pressed down to about a 1 or 1.5 inch thick sandwich.

                1. re: Dax

                  all this talk about cubanos made me remember that i got a very nice one a while back at petsi's pies in harvard sq...very good rendition, in my view a nice medium between chez henri and el oriental.

                  1. re: Dax

                    I hope my post is not taken as a knock against eodc. They make a good regular Cuban sandwich. I just wish there were more places that sold them. JP is not exactly convenient for a lot of people.

                    1. re: Alcachofa

                      Agree. The ones at Miami Cafe in the South End will satisfy the craving even if not the best in town.