Sabor Cubano Buffet - Phoenix
Stopped in today (Sun) to check out Sabor Cubano Buffet on Camelback near 20th Ave.
As the name implies, it is a buffet, though they do seem to have some other dishes (Cuban Sandwiches - $5.25) made to order. With most buffets the food usually isn’t as good as higher priced, on demand fare. Also I’m fairly novice to Cuban and am not exactly quite sure how one defines authenticity. For example, I’m not sure if Cuban is supposed to have the kick of jerked fare for nearby islands or have the spiciness associated with other Latin fare. That said, it seemed pretty good so I’d love to hear from others more familiar with the country’s dishes.
I found the fare here pretty simple, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Roast pork or fried chicken was pretty much just roast pork and fried chicken… not much else in terms of added flavors/sauces. The same was true of most other hot entrees… simple black beans with some onions; white rice; chicken & rice; a garbanzo beans entree; roasted chicken, a cabbage dish; chicken soup; roast chicken and others. A few dishes seemed a bit more complex in flavors, seemingly prepared as stews. These included a shredded beef; pork ribs; and a goat stew.
I found everything pretty tasty and didn’t have room for the salad or dessert stations – especially after soup, breads, rice dishes and multiple proteins. This was a Sunday and there were a lot of young (seemingly Cuban) families filling the place. They serve beer but I’m not sure what else they had in terms of drinks (I had a Coke).
There’s nothing fancy about the place… it apparently used to be a Mexican restaurant but could have been a pizza hut in the 70s – and not much has changed. Green carpet, old-school booths, faux wood paneling. Not a place to propose or have a business meeting. But for an $8-12 meal, it’s something different to try should you be in the area. The food was good and the staff is nice and friendly. They seem to have slightly different prices for dinner and lunch and days of the week, but nothing more than $11.
While buffets might not be the best way to sample a cuisine, it's nice to see something new added to the landscape of offerings in PHX.
Sabor Cubano Buffet
2030 W. Camelback (20th Ave & Camelback)
I grew up in South Florida and my "second family" is Cuban/Puerto Rican. I have tried the Havana Cafe and did not like it as much. I am not a huge fan of buffets but to me the food at Sabor Cubano was much more authentic. The Cuban sandwich was very good but not pressed in a sandwich presser which would make it ten times better. I do not know how long they have been open but they were missing some items that I have yet to find in Phoenix. I love Guava con Queso pastries which they did not have and I also love croquettes they did not serve them either. I took my food to go since we were staying at the Hilton and they charge 5.50 a pound for food to go from the buffet. As I was growing up with my Cuban family I was taught that not a lot of seasoning should not be added so that you can appreciate the flavor of the ingredients, seasonings should be added to taste after the dish is cooked. While I waited for my food I have a cafe con leche which was not as good as I could have made on my own, but was not bad either and she advised me that her mother was the cook and offered me some flan. I am not a huge fan of flan so she offered me some flan masuro, i believe that is what she called it. it was flan with coconut and the traditional sugar pastry topping and a graham cracker crust, like a mini pie. i was great. I am really glad to have found this restaurant since i think the cooks at the Havana Cafe are from Venezuela or some other south American country, lol. If you want to try a traditional Cuban Seasoning go to food city and buy a marinade called Mojo. You can season pretty much any type of meat with it, even though it tastes better with chicken, pork or fish and I think you will find it delicious. It has become a regular at the dinner table of my American family. I hope to see Sabor Cubano either go to a traditional restaurant, no buffet, or even add some things to their menu. I think they have the closest thing to Cuban food going in the valley for the time being and I am very happy to be able to get a taste of home from time to time.
I have not been to Buffett Savor, just found out about it. Hopefully tonight. If you are looking for croquetas, papas rellenas, pastelitos de guava y queso, mofongo, cuban sandwich. Then K-Rico is your place. Of course somethings better than others. K-Rico is located on Alma School just north of Warner in the Pollock Goodyear striip mall in Chandler. They have lunch specials. They are Puerto Ricans, but do a decent job with the Cuban stuff especially the pastries.
I did get to Savor Cubano yesterday, in fact we went for lunch and went back fr dinner. Mom and Dad own the restaurant and daughter works at lunch. They are very friendly and accommodating. They apologized for not having actual Cuban bread for the sandwich, wich was very good and pressed, as it should be. The tostones with the garlic mojito were so good we kept ordering, those as a side dish. I have nothing bad to say. When we went back for dinner I wanted a breaded steak, which they don't have on the menu. No problem, it did take a little while to make it but well worth the wait. They gave me their business card, said we can call any order in, anything we want to eat, including the ox tail, the pastelitos de guayaba, papa rellenas,,,anything, From all that I have tasted so far, I can't see anything not tasting muy bueno.