El Oriental de Cuba: JP
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!
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.
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.
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.