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El Oriental de Cuba: JP

hazel240 Nov 6, 2007 06:53 AM

Any recommendations for branching out from the usual rice and beans at this Cuban eatery? As someone with very little Cuban knowledge, I'd appreciate any expert guidance from other hounds. Thanks!

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    gourmaniac RE: hazel240 Nov 6, 2007 07:02 AM

    I like their seafood soup. The cubano sandwich is just OK.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmaniac
      autopi RE: gourmaniac Nov 6, 2007 09:28 AM

      that's how i feel too. the seafood in the soup is only ok, but the broth is very nice.

      prefer the chez henri cubano to el oriental, and el oriental to miami cafe.

      rice and beans are ok, but also agree with maillard that they're not that special.

    2. maillard RE: hazel240 Nov 6, 2007 07:44 AM

      I love the yuca & plantains (both kinds). I didn't like the rice and beans there all that much, actually.

      2 Replies
      1. re: maillard
        bella_sarda RE: maillard Nov 7, 2007 05:09 AM

        Second the yuca---the fried yuca, although not sure if they make it any other way (some places also do boiled yuca with mojo).

        1. re: bella_sarda
          maillard RE: bella_sarda Nov 7, 2007 12:22 PM

          I'm pretty sure that they don't have yuca with mojo, or I'm sure I would've had a Double Yuca Dinner sometime when I was there. :)

      2. finlero RE: hazel240 Nov 6, 2007 07:48 AM

        Their chicken soup is enormous and absolutely wonderful.

        1. t
          T.B. RE: hazel240 Nov 6, 2007 05:56 PM

          Thirding the seafood soup. I also like their stuffed potatoes; one of those and a "small" bowl of soup makes a full meal, with leftovers. I can never decide between a morir sonando and a guanabana shake to drink, so I just get both, with the latter for dessert.

          Various friends are really into the cubanos, which I just find so-so, and the fried ripe plantains. We've also had pretty good luck with fish and other seafood dishes, and I remember having a really good roast pork special, though I forget which day of the week that was.

          1. p
            patiofixture RE: hazel240 Nov 8, 2007 06:02 AM

            Paella Negro: a squid ink paella. Aside from the distinctive squid ink taste, all of the rice gets dyed black during cooking. If you like paella (I do) it's a great choice.

            Mofongo is a Caribbean staple, and El Oriental does a great one. Think of Caribbean hash.

            Meat stews are also very typical Cuban cuisine, which I find counter-intuitive since in my mind stew=Winter. But they're worth trying, especially given that it's cold here.

            1. MB fka MB RE: hazel240 Nov 8, 2007 04:23 PM

              Lots of votes here for that seafood soup, but I hated it. It was full of rice and the seafood was just a bunch of (my guess) pre-frozen bits. Not very flavorful.

              That said, I love El Oriental. Weekly I enjoy a cafe con leche (bien fuerte) and I like their stewed (guisado) dishes - chicken, beef, oxtail. and I've enjoyed the ropa vieja too.

              Not a big fan of mofongo, which I assumed I would enjoy. too dried out and a bit boring for me, but I liked the fried garlic bits.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MB fka MB
                drb RE: MB fka MB Nov 9, 2007 06:29 AM

                I second the stewed chicken. Messy and good.

                However, be prepared to wait - they definitely are running on Carribean time.

                1. re: MB fka MB
                  Dax RE: MB fka MB Nov 9, 2007 06:55 AM

                  I love garlic but that mofongo was a bit much for me. Agree it was way dried out.

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