El Oriental de Cuba
Heading over for the first time later on. Any recommendations/favorites? I'll eat anything as long as its delicious.
Though I do like El Oriental as a solid neighborhood spot, I have a tasty alternative. While this may be an unpopular opinion, it is definitely worth checking the restaurant across the street called Miami (on Centre St.). Go there not for the Cubanos, which are fine, but go order the "chiva". You get a huge plate of slowly stewed goat, in a delicious gravy. The meat is so moist and tender, and flakes apart. The goat chunks are large, and there're no unappetizing bone fragments. Combined with a huge plate of rice, beans and some platano maduro, you can easily make 3 meals out of an order of chiva.
the ropa vieja is good; the seafood stew is good, if a bit pricey, since it's strength lies in the excellent broth, whereas the seafood itself is sub-par. i've had the snapper in garlic sauce which was decent, but would probably go with the spicy (tomato) sauce next time. oh yeah, i had a good dish there of braised oxtail tho' that might not be an everyday thing.
i find (found?) the cubano forgettable.
they do excellent shakes, which are a nice accompaniment to the meal.
I like the cubano, the fruit shakes are real tasty, and the chicken soup is great for a cold day or if you are feeling under the weather. I think their ropa vieja is too dry and chewy, but I've had some excellent chivo guisado there. Maduros are not always fresh and soft.