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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!

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmaniac

      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. 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

        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

          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. Their chicken soup is enormous and absolutely wonderful.

        1. 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. 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. 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

                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

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