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Mar 25, 2008 08:28 AM

What happened to Cuban Grill 280 in Birmigham?

My wife and I have always enjoyed the food at Cuban Grill 280 in Birmigham. This past weekend, we attempted to introduce another couple to the place, but when we got there it was closed.

Our first thought was that this was because of the Easter holidays, and so we just went over for Chinese at the Black Pearl at the Colonade, a favorite of all 4 of us for some time now. As always the food was wonderful (we're especially fond of the Special Hot and Sour Soup, the Mongolian Beef, the Hot and Hot Fish and the Salt and Pepper Prawns), and the portions very generous. It may be short on atmosphere, but we've never had anything there we didn't think was above average from a taste standpoint, and the prices are fairly reasonable too.

This morning, I followed up on Cuban Grill by calling their number. I got a message that the phone had been disconnected, which would seem to indicate that they are out of business. Does anyone know what happened? If it is gone, we are really going to miss it! Does anyone know of another place in Birmingham that is comparable?

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  1. I saw it was closed when driving by two weeks ago. Business was not jumping the one time I visited shortly after moving here but it wasn't dead either. No idea.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Dax

      Hey now iko iko,

      I'll be it closed for lack of business, too. It was in a terrible location, especially for an ethnic restaurant like that. I really liked it, too, the couple of times I ate there. But it really wasn't worth the trip from cahaba Heights.

      Agree with you on Black Pearl. Chinese food in B'ham isn't all that great, but they do a better job that most. The ma po tofu is tasty, too.

      1. re: Big Daddy

        Dax and Big Daddy, thanks to you both. I've sent an e-mail to a woman I know on the paper who's into the food scene to see if she has anything to add, but it does appear that Cuban Grill is a thing of the past. I'll probably see her at the wine tasting at Vintage on Friday afternoon, and will ask her again then if I don't hear from her earlier.

        I live in Inverness, so the trip wasn't that big a deal for me. In fact, that and Black Pearl are two of the best options close by.

        1. re: iko.iko

          Like sushi and authentic Japanese food? Go to Kimono's on 280 past Greystone on the big hill where Authentic Joe's is. Tell Leo the owner/sushi chef you want omakase or to eat real Japanese food. It's awesome.

          1. re: Big Daddy

            Thanks. We'll have to try it again. We only went once with friends who had suggested it and weren't all that impressed. We just ordered off the menu, and I honestly have no recollection of what we had. My concern with ordering omakase is that you can set yourself up for a fairly serious bill if the sushi chef wants to play it that way. I usually wouldn't do it until I knew the chef a bit.

            We are BIG sushi fans. So far, the best we've found in town has been at Ginza on Valleydale, which is convenient too since we live in Inverness. Do you have other suggestions (anywhere in town)?

            1. re: iko.iko

              I have eaten at Ginza, but have not had their sushi. So far, I think Jensei is the best (and most expensive) sushi game in town. It's in SoHo.

              1. re: Dax

                I have never been to Kimono, but Jinsei is easily the best sushi I have eaten in town. While it is not inexpensive, I don't think that their rolls are appreciably more expensive than the ones served at many other places. What can really drive the bill up there is ordering Champagne, but I think it pairs better with sushi than any other wine.

                1. re: pinotboy

                  Never tried a sparkling wine with sushi, but I love a good chilled sake. I've particularly enjoyed Tozai Nigori Voices in the Mist Sake from Vintage Wine Shoppe at home (w take/out sushi from Fresh Market -- not much variety, but decent for what it is). The sake selection at restaurants I've been to around town hasn't been all that terrific, so I usually end up with a Kirin or a Sapporo.

                  1. re: iko.iko

                    Jinsei and Kinomo are the two best sushi places in town. I hear raves about Giza, but have not tried it.
                    As for the omakase, Chef Leo at Kimono asks what you want to spend. Expect around $80. That's the same way they do it at Jinsei. I was just today looking at my notes from omakase at Kimono; it was a great meal.