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Cuban Sandwich

budgetfoodie Dec 13, 2007 06:37 AM


i've only had one real cuban but it was in florida so i'm assuming compared to most new england standards it was pretty good! in any event i thought it was incredible and i'd love to find a place in the boston area that makes a good one. i'm not sure if they vary depending on who's making it so i can't really go into much more detail. what i can say is i did try the one at gaslight. although i liked the restaurant i wasn't a huge fan of their cuban but i'm not holding it against them b/c after all, its a french restaurant. i mean it was okay. but i'm looking for authentic here... nothing fancy. i heard there's a place in jamaica plain that makes a good one but i don't know the name of it. if anyone could help i'd really appreciate it. and if i could get a side of yucca it would be a huge plus!

  1. mjg0725 Dec 13, 2007 06:51 AM


    The place your referring to is El Oriental De Cuba.

    Some recent threads:

    El Oriental De Cuba
    416 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    1 Reply
    1. re: mjg0725
      Bob Dobalina Dec 13, 2007 07:46 AM

      The great debate - I prefer El Oriental.
      We need to do a blind tasting.

    2. k
      kate used to be 50 Dec 13, 2007 06:52 AM

      Chez Henri in Cambridge

      Chez Henri
      1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

      10 Replies
      1. re: kate used to be 50
        Bostonbob3 Dec 13, 2007 07:02 AM

        I second Chez Henri. You get it at their bar. It's fab.

        1. re: Bostonbob3
          joebelt Dec 13, 2007 07:02 AM

          And I'll third that recommendation.

          1. re: joebelt
            finlero Dec 13, 2007 07:53 AM

            I will fourth it enthusiastically, but also point out that as Cubanos go, it's pretty darn fancy. If you can wink at that, it won't do you wrong.

            In addition to El Oriental, the Plough and Stars (pub between Harvard and Central) serves an ostensibly good one, although I haven't tried it.

            1. re: finlero
              yumyum Dec 13, 2007 09:19 AM

              I've tried the Plough's cubano -- it's very good, but not as good as the best, at Chez Henri.

              But for the OP if your handle means you would object to spending over $10 for a cuban, then try the decent one down the street at Montrose Spa.

              Montrose Spa
              1646 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

              1. re: yumyum
                franksnbeans Jan 9, 2008 05:54 AM

                I second the Montrose Spa. Very very tasty.

              2. re: finlero
                gini Dec 13, 2007 10:53 AM

                This post reminds me that I still need to try the veggie Cubano at Chez Henri. That sounds tasty on a snowy night!

                1. re: finlero
                  hiddenboston Dec 14, 2007 07:58 AM

                  I'll fifth that. The Cubano at Chez Henri is perhaps my favorite specific dish in any restaurant in the Boston area (hooah--let the debates begin!).

                2. re: joebelt
                  saltyair Dec 13, 2007 09:41 AM

                  I will fourth that recomendation.
                  I will drive all the way to Cambridge for one.

                  Also, St Alphnous Grill in South Boston has one. Have not tried it.

                  1. re: saltyair
                    Chicky Dec 13, 2007 12:59 PM

                    There's only one thing I like better than a lobsta roll and that's the cubano from OREINTAL DE CUBA!

                  2. re: joebelt
                    holldoll Feb 8, 2008 12:47 PM

                    I fourth, fifth and sixth that!!

              3. h
                heWho Dec 13, 2007 08:02 AM

                Some good one's I've had.....

                Cafe Miami on Tremont St in the South End
                South End Fromaggio's Cuban (lacks in authenticity, but it's still tasty)
                Hot Off the Press in Central Sq. Cambridge

                1. t
                  tlk Dec 13, 2007 10:30 AM

                  I've heard great things about the one at Chez Henri, but I haven't tried it. I had a good Cubano at Gaslight last weekend. The fries could have been better, but the sandwich was good.

                  1. maillard Dec 13, 2007 10:54 AM

                    I'm not a huge fan of cuban sandwiches, but I do love yucca and El Oriental de Cuba has fantastic fried yuca.

                    1. b
                      bear Dec 13, 2007 02:58 PM

                      My husband and I ordered the Cubano at Gaslight on Sat. morning because he had really enjoyed his a couple of weeks earlier. For some reason, there was no ham in either of ours, and it was bland. Just sliced pork or turkey. Very different from the earlier one, which had a generous amount of tasty, clovey ham and good flavor. Does Gaslight usually do this? If so, I wouldn't recommend it, I'd go with the Croque Monsieur.

                      1. e
                        eatanddestroy Dec 14, 2007 07:49 AM

                        I won't argue with the people who like the cubano at El Oriental de Cuba because it is delicious, but I find that the cubano across the street at Cafe Miami (in JP) is just a little bit more tasty due to the cuts of pork that they use.

                        1. d
                          deshuitres Dec 14, 2007 08:15 AM

                          The Independent in Union Square in Somerville does a nice Cubano on the bar side menu- pressed,thick slices of ham, grainy country-style tasting mustard, pickles and cheese. Simple but very tasty for a local place!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: deshuitres
                            teezeetoo Dec 15, 2007 01:01 PM

                            and on to the search for a good muffeletta!

                            1. re: teezeetoo
                              kate used to be 50 Dec 15, 2007 01:04 PM

                              I have an answer for that one too! Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis Square, Somerville. Could feed an army! (Ok, a small army)

                          2. j
                            JHodad Dec 21, 2007 03:05 PM

                            El Oriental Cuba in Jamaica Plain (recently opened after fire) makes a great cuban sandwich!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: JHodad
                              ebone Dec 24, 2007 09:26 AM

                              I had a Cuban from El Oriental for the first time recently and I loved it. Next stop is Chez Henri and then I will make my decision as to who makes a better one.

                              City Slicker in Somerville makes a decent one, but its not on the level of El Oriental...

                              1. re: ebone
                                autopi Dec 24, 2007 10:25 AM

                                i like them both, but be aware that they are very different creatures. the el oriental is a sandwich. the chez henri is a $15 fancy-pants yuppie bar plated pseudo-sandwich. sort of an apples & oranges thing.

                                also, a shout out to the cuban at petsi's pies in cambridge, which i haven't seen mentioned...

                                1. re: autopi
                                  ebone Dec 24, 2007 10:30 AM

                                  Petsi's has a cuban? I think their pies are great, but I never realized they made sandwiches as well. Seems like a trip to cambridge is in order.

                                  Gotcha or the Chez Henri/El Oriental comparison, figured as much, but I am not opposed to some fancy pants dining either. When it comes to Cubans I certainly don't discriminate.

                            2. j
                              jajjguy Dec 23, 2007 08:02 PM

                              The All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Sq has one. I haven't had it myself, but they take things pretty seriously so it's probably worth a try.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jajjguy
                                holldoll Feb 8, 2008 12:48 PM

                                I've had one (Cuban) at the All Star.
                                It was respectable but not as delectable as Chez Henri.
                                In all fairness, nothing is!

                              2. p
                                Peter B Wolf Dec 25, 2007 08:35 AM

                                Can any of you Bostonias / New Englanders tell me your version of a " Cuban "

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: Peter B Wolf
                                  jgg13 Dec 25, 2007 04:59 PM

                                  We take a piece of cod, smear it with clam chowder, add a piece of VT cheddar and press it between two slices of brown bread.

                                  1. re: jgg13
                                    smtucker Dec 25, 2007 05:25 PM

                                    topped with Indian pudding, served over succatash.

                                    1. re: smtucker
                                      hiddenboston Dec 26, 2007 06:28 AM

                                      This is ridiculous. I mean c'mon, jgg13, it's two pieces of VT cheddar, not one.

                                      Don't forget adding the baked beans on top of the lower piece of brown bread, as well as throwing some Rhode Island quahogs in between the pieces of VT cheddar (and mixing a couple in with the Indian pudding).

                                  2. re: Peter B Wolf
                                    gini Dec 26, 2007 06:13 AM

                                    Castro's probably my favorite version.

                                    Too far?

                                    1. re: gini
                                      joestrummer Dec 26, 2007 06:52 AM

                                      Castro is the authentic version.
                                      Ricky Ricardo is the dumbed down Americanized Cuban.
                                      Seriously, my Grammie made a great authentic Boston version.
                                      Amnerican cheese on white bread. Grilled. Cup of tomato soup on the side.

                                    2. re: Peter B Wolf
                                      joestrummer Dec 26, 2007 06:40 AM

                                      Fresh lobster meat and a little mayo in a hotdog bun.

                                      1. re: Peter B Wolf
                                        Alcachofa Dec 26, 2007 06:42 AM

                                        Every sandwich I make is a Cuban sandwich.

                                        1. re: Alcachofa
                                          StriperGuy Dec 26, 2007 08:00 AM

                                          Yes, but you have an unfair advantage ;-).

                                          1. re: Alcachofa
                                            Bob Dobalina Dec 27, 2007 07:08 AM

                                            Reminds me of the now-departed banh mi spot between Porter and Harvard -

                                            Orderer: "I'd like a...chicken...is it bonn mee?"

                                            Vendor: "Yeah, it's just a chicken sandwich."

                                          2. re: Peter B Wolf
                                            MC Slim JB Dec 26, 2007 06:48 AM

                                            Salt cod between two slices of hardtack, washed down with the cold remains of Sunday's boiled dinner, eaten before a fire of two tiny coals while watching WGBH reruns of The French Chef on a 7" black and white TV with rabbit ears.

                                            1. re: Peter B Wolf
                                              itaunas Dec 26, 2007 08:14 AM

                                              I personally like the traditional cuban sandwich, but for something locally available which might not be as available in Miami, I would suggest a couple of other ethnic sandwiches. Also note that Boston did previously have a decent sized Cuban population -- I think dating back to the 1920s and centered around Roxbury.

                                              Portuguese Man-o-War (Snack Bar, Cambridge Street): Sub with portuguese marinated pork (febras), ham, american cheese, and egg.

                                              Irish Breakfast Sandwich: (Burren lunchtime only): Irish Sausage and Bacon. Unless they have changed their policies, they won't even let you pay extra to add the egg (you can get one meat and egg) which is annoying. But filling and comes with chips to have with malt vinegar.

                                              Should haven't much trouble finding near Miami (especially up towards Pompano), but there is the Brazilian X-tudo (Pastelaria Broadway, Somerville): patty hamburger, served with bacon and ham, potato sticks, corn, lettuce and tomato, eat it with mayo and ketchup.

                                              As has been pointed out before Izzy's in Cambridge a long-standing Puerto Rican restaurant has a roast pork sub which is along the lines of a cuban, but probably more "bostonized" than others (think cheese burger subs).

                                            2. c
                                              clingstonekid Dec 31, 2007 11:42 AM

                                              While Oriental de Cuba and Chez Henri are the two best Cubans I've had in the area, I did have the Cuban at the Audobon Circle on Beacon yesterday and it was pretty darn good. If you happen to be in the area, not a bad choice.

                                              1. m
                                                MarsGirl Jan 8, 2008 07:55 PM

                                                I second heWho's recommendation of Miami Cafe in the South End. It's actually just off of Tremont at the end of Aguadilla St. I remember the cubano just seeming to melt in my mouth, and I love their maduros!

                                                1. MC Slim JB Feb 8, 2008 06:52 AM

                                                  In the spirit of Peter B. Wolf, I'm going to suggest that a veggie cubano is the foie gras poutine of the sandwich world. Or somesuch. But the Chez Henri veggie cubano is still really delicious; it just has to compete unfairly with the even-more-awesome meatful cubano there. Having admitted this, I probably will never be allowed into Cuba.

                                                  I had the cubano at The Gaslight the other night, and it was pretty dismal. No ham, the wrong bread (it reminded me of brioche, a bread I would like to see banned from most sandwiches), and the wrong mustard (something Dijon-y). And it was twelve bucks. The fries, I'm happy to report, have gotten much better, obviously hand-cut and brought quickly to my bar seat from the fryer.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                    heypielady Feb 8, 2008 07:30 AM

                                                    Not really that authentic but Dan's Havana Heaven at Hi-Rise is a yummy take on the cubano. A generous hunk of pork. Although definitely the wrong kind of bread. I haven't had the cubano at Chez Henri but I really like the one at El Oriental de Cuba. MC Slim JB, you don't even like a brioche bun on a burger? Or is it the brioche in general can't hold up to most sandwich fillings?

                                                    1. re: heypielady
                                                      MC Slim JB Feb 8, 2008 07:36 AM

                                                      El Oriental's version reminds most of the ones served in Little Havana, Miami, where I had my first cubanos.

                                                      Two sandwiches with which I especially dislike brioche-like bread/rolls: a burger (as at ESK) and a lobster roll (as at Neptune). I like the sturdiness, but the eggy sweetness doesn't work for me in that context. (It's made worse at Neptune by over-charring.)

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