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A Little Bit of Cuba Coming Soon in Freehold, NJ!!!

wench31 Jan 23, 2009 04:09 AM

Yay!!! Something new finally coming to our neighborhood soon! I was driving through Mounts Corner Shopping Center and saw this little restaurant's sign up. It's right next door to Mahzu. I don't know if it's going to be a sitdown place or a take out. Can't wait!

  1. Bossa_Nova Nov 28, 2010 03:25 PM

    Hmmm, Two folks who've NEVER posted about anything before suddenly pop up to tell us how wonderful this awful place is one day after each other. I suspect a desperate owner. They'd do better spending their time improving the quality of the food and service. Even if they trick some unsuspecting folks into trying this place I'm sure it will only take one visit for them to vow never to return.

    1. j
      joonjoon Nov 5, 2010 08:35 PM

      Wow...the reviews for this place are so horrible it makes me want to try it...

      3 Replies
      1. re: joonjoon
        angelo04 Nov 6, 2010 08:13 AM

        I have been here for a late lunch, early dinner on a weekend and I thought it was really good. We order mostly apps so that we could try a Bunch of things. Garlic shrimp, pork, chicken, plantains etc. I liked it. I am surprised by all the haters. I would consider myself to have a good palette too.

        1. re: joonjoon
          n
          njfood30 Nov 27, 2010 11:25 AM

          I am confused by the bad reviews. We have been eating here since they opened and have had only very good meals. The service has always been good too, so not sure what could have gone wrong with the reviewers meals mentioned above. My only "complaint" is that the Ropa Veijo is so good I don't try enough of their other entrees. I've never had the sandwiches since we usually come for a big lunch or dinner. I would try it and decide for yourself.

          1. re: joonjoon
            l
            livinginjersey Nov 28, 2010 03:05 PM

            Go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          2. p
            purrsephone Oct 27, 2010 12:31 PM

            My mom is Cuban, she owned a restaurant in Cuba and I've travelled there plenty of times. This restaurant sucks. The food was horrible, the arroz con pollo was straight out of a box but they made it look pretty lol. The chicken was hard as hell, when it is supposed to be super juicy and tender being cooked with the rice. The plantains they serve you where also out of a bag, I was shocked at how expensive but horrible the food was. If you live in NJ, travel to Union city. AMong alot of mexican restaurants they also have some cuban restaurants that are cheap and the food is amazing! The sandwiches were horrible too, for people that have never eaten real cuban food they might think the sandwiches are yummy but believe me, my dog can make a better sandwich. We hardly ate anything and decided to take doggy bags (this time correctly stated since they were for my dog, we weren't touching that crappy food) and on the way home just smelling the horrible stench from the food made us pull over and throw it out in a dumpster....YES it was that freaking bad

            4 Replies
            1. re: purrsephone
              y
              yCf Oct 28, 2010 06:33 AM

              The first time I went there when it first open, we thought it was good.
              We went there a few weeks ago. I think they renovate the place a little to make it more upscale to justify the price they charge. I think the quality of the food is still the same but i think the portion was too small for the price they charge.
              The thing that bugs me on my last visit was the service. We had a baby and he was crying. I did the reasonable thing and took him to the car while my wife get the check and ask them to wrap the food.
              I sat in my car with my baby for like 15 minutes. My wife came out totally upset and said she didn't even leave a tip. It turns out the waitress ignore her (don't know what the reason was) even after she told her she need to wrap the food and get the check. She ask for boxes and bags to wrap up the food and the waitress didn't bring her boxes after the 3rd time she ask her. And at that point she still didn't bring the check. My wife said she went and take order at 2 different table before she get her the check. It was obvious we need to leave so I don't know what her problem is.

              Will not return.

              1. re: yCf
                m
                MarlboroMan Oct 28, 2010 06:42 AM

                I would have just walked out without paying anything at that point.

                I've never been to this place. Never will, now.

                1. re: MarlboroMan
                  MishyPoo Nov 5, 2010 05:05 PM

                  I said it before and I will say it again, I am SHOCKED this place is still open.

              2. re: purrsephone
                l
                livinginjersey Nov 28, 2010 03:04 PM

                I normally refrain from responding to blogs that have the words "sucks" and "freaking" in them as that is language my 13 year old son uses however I just could not resist! I have dined in this restaurant on many occasions and this food is anything but "out of a box". My last meal there was the Lechon Asado and I found the meat to be tender and full of flavor. My dining companion had Camarones Al Ajillo and the shrimp were plentiful and juicy. I did not at all find the prices to be astounding considering the amount of food you are given. This food rivals any of the establishments in Union City. I too know what I am talking about as both of my parents are Cuban and you don't need to own a restaurant to know what good Cuban food is. I am slightly baffled as to why this writer would even think to take this food home given the digust that they had for their meals. Perhaps your palate should stick to the food that is served on a paper placemat

              3. d
                dunker925 Jul 2, 2010 09:21 AM

                This place is absolutely terrible. My wife and i were so excited when we saw this place was opening but when we got there we were so disappointed. Waiters and bus boys/girls did not speak english and the food was frozen!! We expected fresh cuban food and good frozen stuff from a microwave. Do you know how it was frozen??....hot on the outside and cold in side. We complained and asked for it to be returned and expected a new one but it came back on the same plate, still cut in half and burning hot in the inside. That tells me it went in the microwave for 2 minutes on high!! Don't go there!!

                1. f
                  freeholdres Nov 21, 2009 01:15 PM

                  The food was horrible. Why is it that Latino restaurants feel they have to make the food bland to appeal to the anglo demographic of the suburbs? This is not CUBAN food. The cuband sandwich was made of more deli ham than anything. They put this thinly sliced vendor purchased turkey that you find in frozen dinner and in the line of your high school cafeteria... it was horrible. We are not in NYC. I do not care what your overhead or rent is-- you do not charge $9 for an effin empanada... it is insulting. My husband's ribe eye had absolutely no flavor and when we say medium we mean medium. Latino restaurants have a nasty reputation for overcooking beef....the best part of the night was the fried chicken...the papas rellenas were bland as well.. .please respect the cuisine and use GARLIC and SALT...the suburbanites will not run away. they will want to stay if there is taste and flavor to their overpriced food.....

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: freeholdres
                    MishyPoo Dec 8, 2009 04:32 PM

                    wow this place is still open?? Im in shock!
                    xoxo,
                    Michelle

                    1. re: MishyPoo
                      g
                      gailelyson Dec 9, 2009 02:36 AM

                      Im with you, hard to believe but people will take what they can get and we have slim pickings in this end of town. I wish a great BYOB would open!

                      1. re: gailelyson
                        MishyPoo Dec 24, 2009 04:56 PM

                        Too true!
                        You all should get your bodies a few feet away from this cuban place and just go to Frankly Burgers and More. I am never disappointed there, and you cant beat the price!

                        xoxo,
                        Michelle

                        1. re: MishyPoo
                          g
                          gailelyson Dec 27, 2009 02:56 AM

                          Mishy..the problem with that is burgers are great but it would be fantastic to have a "walk to" place with a bar or byob that has great food. We tried Oasis a few weeks ago for the third time and the food was just terrible, and very expensive. La Piazza is terrible, so we are stuck with Mazhu and Moores!

                          1. re: gailelyson
                            MishyPoo Jan 3, 2010 03:57 PM

                            Oasis is horrible...My prediction is, it will be closed very soon.
                            shame....

                            xoxo,
                            Michelle

                  2. chefMD Sep 1, 2009 07:26 AM

                    after experiencing some of the worst service next door at mahzu (table service mind you) i decided i was still hungry and figured a crispy porky sandwich would fit the bill.

                    i take into account that i got the classic cuban sandwich and ropa vieja empanadas to take home but....... the sandwich was a joke for 8.95 with NO sides? menu doesn't say it came with any but jeez. the pickles were cut thinner than the carpaccio i serve and ceased to have any flavor. mustard was next to non-existant. roll was not pressed to a crispy to begin with, not much meat or cheese either. i feel like i get a better deal at ihop for the 7.95 bacon cheeseburger! as for the empanada, the ropa vieja filling was good though i agree with seal that olives should be chopped up, not whole. i am not an expert on cuban food by any means, but the "dough" was like a large eggroll wrapper that wasn't filled with appropriate amount of filling. not horrible, but not that great either.

                    9 dollars for a sandwich of this caliber was a bit high considering there were no sides. if you told me it was 5 or 6 dollars, i probably would not be as upset. oh yea, it was tiny size as well! i am in no rush to go back. guess i will have to get that pork belly rueben and a bahn mi today!!!!!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: chefMD
                      MishyPoo Sep 1, 2009 07:47 AM

                      What pork belly rueben...and where are you going for bahn mi????
                      we want to know!!!!!

                      xoxo,
                      Michelle

                      1. re: chefMD
                        c
                        Check17 Sep 1, 2009 10:59 PM

                        Tend to agree with chefMD about the sandwiches. We both had the cuban sandwich and the roast pork sandwich, they were dry and had no flavor. The tostones we ordered were too thick and not crispy The empanada, while very tasty with the ropa vieja, could have had a little bit more filling for the price. Might go again to try other dishes.

                        1. re: Check17
                          chefMD Sep 1, 2009 11:39 PM

                          the ropa vieja did have good flavor. i am not a fan of the "pulled" flank steak (i do know its traditional) or the whole olives in it.

                          1. re: chefMD
                            seal Sep 2, 2009 03:54 AM

                            chefMD - You're not vacationing in Portland OR, are you? Only place I know of that has a pork belly rueben and a bahn mi in the same sandwich shop is Bunk Sandwiches there.

                    2. r
                      roneats May 29, 2009 05:31 PM

                      Six of us just back from a shot at dinner here. With the exception of a minor flaw or two, we all thought the food and service were great. First, regarding a couple of the prior comments - - they seem to have fixed the bottled drink problem. Everyone got a full sealed bottle along with a glass of ice. Yes, the plantain chips are boring but crispy. But there's so much food coming you don't need to eat 'em anyway. Yes, it ain't cheap. However, I think the prices are in line with the quality and quantity of what's on the plate. I don't think its fair to ding them on price just because the place is real casual. If that was the case, you would never pay $15 to eat an incredible lobster roll in a dirt parking lot off a highway. Anyway, the empanadas were crispy outside and flaky inside and stuffed with really flavorful meat. Shrimp with garlic excellent. My churrasco was a foot long strip of skirt steak perfectly cooked with great grill flavor. Arroz con pollo equally good; likewise the fricasee of chicken. The roast pork had great flavor but was a bit too dry and was the only entree that didn't get finished when passed around. Skipped dessert and took a walk around Top Tomato to pick up some italian cookies. We will definitely be going back soon and often.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: roneats
                        seal May 30, 2009 11:14 AM

                        Just had a nice lunch there.

                        We shared a cuban sandwich ( good, well toasted, enough meat but I like 'em with just a bit more mustard/pickles ) and an order of Ropa Vieja (very good, not too dry like is often the case with this dish, but I prefer the olives chopped into the dish instead of whole) and it came with a side of black beans and white rice (the only real loser in the bunch as the beans were only lukewarm and not well seasoned enough).

                        For dessert we shared a piece of tres leches cake that was decent but not nearly as good as the things we bought afterwards at the neighboring Raintree Plaza at La Dolce bakery (see other post). Our tab came to $35 before tip, and while that is not at all cheap for lunch, having just eaten in similar cuban joints in the Miami area and paid close to the same amount, I don't think the prices were out of line.

                        So I guess I'm saying I'm not rushing back, but I am not opposed to a return trip either ;o)

                      2. y
                        yCf May 18, 2009 08:38 AM

                        Enjoyed dinner there last night. Two adults and a toddler with big appetite.

                        I had a chicken dish and my wife has the grilled red snapper both were good. The price is definitely not cheap but the portion is generous. My wife was surprised by the size of her fillet of red snapper, and I have plenty of chicken in my dish. The 2 entree were more than enough to share amongst the three of us.

                        We really like the flavor of their dishes. The seasoning and sauces are very light and do not overtake the flavor of the ingredient which is a rarity when you eat out. The yellow saffron rice was also very tasty and complemented the meal well.

                        We top off our dinner with a slice of Tres Leches cake. This is the first time we try this dessert and it was wonderful.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: yCf
                          j
                          jsfein May 18, 2009 11:24 AM

                          I've been to ALBoC several times now. The food is a refreshing change of pace to most of the local offerings. I am surprised by how quickly the place has seemed to catch on as each time I've been for dinner (mostly Thurs, Fri, Sat nights) its been relatively full. As has been commented on, the prices are a bit high for the "total package." If the same food was being served in a more refined environment, with more spacing between tables and more polished service, I probably wouldn't think twice about the prices they are charging. But, in the space they are in (not that there is anything wrong with it), my personal feeling is that most of the entrees are priced about $3-$5 higher than I would expect. Not enough to keep me from returning, but enough that I'm thinking about it.

                          1. re: jsfein
                            y
                            yCf May 18, 2009 01:25 PM

                            Well said. Exactly my sentiment with the price.

                            However, I was really surprised how full the place was on a Sunday night. It was about 80% full and there are constantly people coming in and out with take out orders.

                            BTW, there is a $5 off $25 or $10 off $50 coupon for ALBoC in the small coupon booklet that come in the mail every couple months if anyone needs extra incentive to try this place.

                            1. re: yCf
                              t
                              tojo May 18, 2009 07:32 PM

                              Im a newbie to Freehold as well as Chowhound and i cant wait to try this place. Its definitely on my list to try soon!

                              1. re: tojo
                                stuffed_belly May 24, 2009 06:01 PM

                                I'm waiting to hear more good than bad. I actually stopped in just to pick up the menu after reading the posts. A little surprised at the prices...I would expect to pay that at a much higher quality restaurant not someplace that looks/feels like a pizzeria. If I did pay these prices I would hope that my service was excellent or above average not just "adorable". Not meant to be insulting...just not what I am looking for. I will bet she won't be so adorable after six months open & she doesn't know how to serve ya still. just food for thought.

                                1. re: stuffed_belly
                                  g
                                  gailelyson May 25, 2009 04:16 AM

                                  We live about 2 minutes from Mounts corner shopping center and were excited to see ALBOC open. We are Mazu fans and another good BYOB is always a good thing.We stopped in for dinner right after they opened on a week night. Place was nice and the owners daughter was lovely. We shared tostones for appitizer, very so, so. Dinner was pretty good, had flan and thought it was terrible. We brought a bottle of wine with us. We don't mind high pricies for dining out (we are huge Nicolas fans) but this place was so over priced for what it is. We decided we would not go back again. However desperate for local dining we did go a few times, and skipped the appitizers and just had entrees. Servers are very nice but not very good. We stopeed in on a Sunday forgetting it was Mothers day and it was packed. She said we would have a 40 min wait. We said no thanks and were leaving when sh said she had a table. Server could not open wine, we had to show her how! Anyway to the end...they were giving out long stem roses to all the women at the tables, when our check came I brought it to the owner in the back as the server was never going to come back. I asked him what one needed to do to get a rose! (He knows us from the 4-5 times we have been in there). He got flustered and said the waitress should have given it to me, I should take one as I am a "very nice lady". He made no effort to do this himself. I know this sounds petty and I had a dozen roses at home, but I felt he should have reached over and grabbed one and handed it to me. Overall the food is not that great, very expensive for what it is and they should be more attentive to customers that are coming in at least once a week. Off our list unfortunately.

                                  1. re: gailelyson
                                    Tapas52 May 25, 2009 07:20 AM

                                    Probably very high rent there....& with so many good Latin restaurants close by it will be hard to survive without extraordinary cuisine to have customers return..

                                    1. re: Tapas52
                                      s
                                      Shelley Hooper Sep 1, 2009 11:29 AM

                                      I couldn't agree more!!! El Familiar is right down the street, (on Main St. in Freehold right before Hall of Records, if you're heading east it's on the left)much much cheaper with similar ambience and much more competent waitstaff, and with more variety on the menu too.

                        2. f
                          Freeholder2113 Apr 5, 2009 06:08 PM

                          Definitely not worth it!!!! Apparently they dont have a "lunch menu" on weekends....so everything is dinner prices (roughly double the price except sandwiches.) Fine dining prices for a very casual place (looked like and was setup like a pizzeria). Had a similar situation with our drinks as "MishyPoo"'s post, in addition, the coffee came out cold and refills were not free....The roast pork sanwich was a joke.. there was almost 2 slices of the thinnest meat. Nothing comes with the $8.95 sandwiches. The sweet fried plantains for $3.95 were pretty good. Someone ordered the midnight sandwich and they were happy with that too. Overall everyone was so turned off that neither my party of 5 or I could bring ourselves to order dessert. About $20 each for a crappy lunch. Better off going to Fridays, Applebees or Ruby Tuesdays for better food and half the price.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Freeholder2113
                            MishyPoo Apr 5, 2009 06:20 PM

                            or just go to Frankly Burgers and More right around the corner for much better food at a much better value!

                            Actually, I cant say "much" better food....I thought the few things we tried there that day were OK. I would like to go back one day, but Im not rushing back. I did think their prices were outlandish tho!

                            xoxo,
                            Michelle

                            1. re: MishyPoo
                              s
                              Shelley Hooper Sep 1, 2009 11:26 AM

                              I agree that frankly burgers is excellent, i'm hooked on their fish sandwiches, and when they saw me bringing in malt vinegar for them they got malt vinegar in for me:) gotta love a restaurant that tailors their condiments around you! also their hot sauce is to die for!

                          2. c
                            cranrob Mar 26, 2009 05:19 AM

                            We had dinner here last night, and we really enjoyed it. We started with Tostones (they have three different versions: Garlic Shrimp, Ropa Vieja, and Chicken, we asked for a combo of Shrimp & Ropa Vieja and they obliged). Both were very, very good. For mains, we ordered Lechon Asado (Roast Pork) and a Cuban Sandwich. The pork was well flavored, but unfortunately a bit dry. Cuban Sandwich was excellent. There are so many other things on the menu we'd like to try, so we'll be back soon.

                            1. wench31 Mar 23, 2009 10:01 AM

                              I just ordered take out from A Little Bit of Cuba. I had the Arroz Con Pollo with a side of Yuca Frita. Their food was great! The chicken was off the bone and the rice was soft with peas, peppers and olives. The Yuca Frita was nice and crispy. Now, on to the negative experience that I had with the owner. I had called in my order at 11:30 right at lunch time and asked for the Arroz Con Pollo. When I got there, I was expecting to pay for the lunch special ($10.95) and the yuca frita. Imagine my surprise when I got charged $21.85. I asked him why the high price and he said that I got a dinner special and that I should have specifically ask for the lunch special. He only took the $20 instead of the $40 that I had given him. So nice of him! While he took my $20, he said that he felt bad for the miscommunication and didn't even offer to charge me the lunch special. Although, the food was pretty good, I don't know when I'll be stepping back in there again. For those of you who like this place or thinking of going in there for a meal, beware! :)

                              1. njfoodies Mar 23, 2009 07:42 AM

                                This is on our list as well as a place to try. Looking forward to it. -mJ

                                1. c
                                  chowchow333 Mar 22, 2009 07:21 PM

                                  I'm going to check ALBOC out tomorrow. This place could be a nice spicy addition to our area. I'm Cuban myself, so I'm particularly excited. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chowchow333
                                    c
                                    chowchow333 Mar 23, 2009 07:33 PM

                                    Ok. Went in today.

                                    The space is very nice. Open. Very Clean. There are big pictures of Cuba hanging on the wall. Really nice touch.

                                    My waitress was adorable. She was very attentive and knowledgeable regarding the menu. Of course I had to order the ropa vieja so I could compare it to my grandmother's! I got it stuffed in tostones. Oh boy! The meat was so juicy and flavorful. There were green olives. And the tostones weren't greasy at all. I was pretty impressed to be honest. It tasted very authentic, as if I had gone over someone's house and they cooked it for me. The food came out hot too, which is something I always look for.

                                    Let's see.. what else. My friend ordered the paella, I believe. It was served in a giant cast iron pot. What a nice touch! Even though the portion sizes were very plentiful, he ate it all. I tried a a mouthful, and again I was impressed by the bold flavor.

                                    For dessert we ordered the tres leches. This is probably my favorite dessert in the world, and I'll admit, they did it justice. Good for you, ALBOC!

                                    I thought at first the prices might be a little steep but for the portions you get it was absolutely worth it. And the food is pretty awesome.

                                    I met the owner and his daughter (who was so sweet) and we spoke for a while about Cuba, being that it's our common heritage. He was very personable.

                                    I will be going back there. I have their takeout menu. I'm bringing my friends. For a brand new place, I think they will do quite well. I think ALBOC is going to be a hot spot once it's name gets around!

                                  2. wench31 Mar 20, 2009 09:09 PM

                                    The place opened today and I was wondering if anybody's been there yet?

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: wench31
                                      j
                                      jsfein Mar 21, 2009 07:25 AM

                                      They were open last night for dinner. I happened by after a long day at work to find them quite busy around 9 pm for same take out. Arroz con pollo and a side of plantains ... very good. I have the menu at home and there are lots of interesting choices. Entrees range from about $15-$22, sandwiches around $8. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we may have a keeper.

                                      1. re: jsfein
                                        Tapas52 Mar 21, 2009 08:12 AM

                                        Where excactly is this place in freehold?

                                        1. re: Tapas52
                                          Angelina Mar 21, 2009 08:32 AM

                                          It's in that shoppoing plaza on rt. 537....where Acme use to be, there is a Panera bread, Dunkin Donuts. La Pizza Restaurant is there, too. The etrip mall next to Raintree. This Cuban place is right near Mahzu...the Japanese restaurant.

                                          Hope this helps!!

                                          1. re: Angelina
                                            Tapas52 Mar 21, 2009 09:17 AM

                                            Angelina thanx ....almost across from Moores Tavern....got it!

                                            1. re: Tapas52
                                              Bossa_Nova Mar 21, 2009 10:14 AM

                                              http://www.alittlebitofcuba.com/homep...

                                              1. re: Bossa_Nova
                                                MishyPoo Mar 21, 2009 12:50 PM

                                                Hello!

                                                I was so happy to see that A Little Bit of Cuba opened, that I ran there for lunch today....it is literally 3 minutes from my house.

                                                I am keeping in mind that this is their 2nd day of operation as I write this post....I tend to be very picky and I know they have kinks to work out.

                                                The space is roomy and attractive. Aqua blue and latte colored walls flanked with Cuban style art work, clean and airy. I did notice a funky smell tho, it could have been something they were cooking, but to me it smelled like a dirty mop....I'm picky, sorry!!!! It wasn't very strong. My husband didn't notice it really, but I have a very sensitive nose.

                                                We seated ourselves. After a few minutes, the waitress brings a plastic basket w/ the white wax paper liner of "fried plantains".....I use quotes here because tho these were definitely fried plantains, they were not made in house. These are the kind that one can buy like potato chips, tho sliced the long way. I prefer the bag kind actually, I love them! Ive been eating them for years....this is how I know these were not made in house but taken from a package. I wanted to ask to make sure I was correct about this, but I didn't want to make them feel badly lol. I'm not saying they were bad, I'm just saying they are NOT sliced and fried on the premises.

                                                The waitress then brought us the menus, which were not a "real" menu but their to go / take out menu...paper, trifolded. Again, not a complaint, just giving the details of my experience. I brought mine home!

                                                We were then asked what we wanted to drink, we asked for iced tea but were told all drinks came from their fridge container filled w/ bottled drinks right by the counter. So, we told the waitress we would go pick something out, as she couldn't tell us every variety that the fridges contained. She told us to let her know what we want, because she will pour it in a glass.
                                                We continued to look at the menu, and decided on the sandwich section of the menu, since we were there for lunch.
                                                We placed our order with the waitress, who did not write anything down, but referred to the menu as we told her what we wanted.
                                                We ordered the beef empanada to share for our appetizer, a Cuban sandwich and the roast pork sandwich.

                                                A number of minutes passed and the waitress returns to ask us if we wanted the beef or chicken empanada, we said beef. I know I heard my companion state beef when he ordered, so of course I rolled my eyes at him after she left with the correction....she did not write our order down, and seemed quite unfamiliar with the menu as we ordered.

                                                The empanada arrived...large, deep fried and flaky on a narrow rectangular plate. She also gave us each the same sized plate for our use. We had no silverware on the table. She seemed to have gotten flustered over this and eventually our silverware arrived, a fork and knife, sloppily rolled up in a napkin. None of the other tables had silverware on them, rolled up in napkins or otherwise.

                                                We tucked into the empanada....it was quite tasty. Deep fried, bubbly looking crust...inside was the beef, not ground beef but a nice pulled looking beef in small chunks/ shreds, peas, peppers, and a green olive. We cut it in half and I was able to pry open my crust to see exactly what was inside. There was only one olive in my half, my husband doesn't like olives so I warned him to look in his half but I got the only olive. I give this empanada a good grade, it was really nice, and I would order it again. I do think that the $8.95 price for this item is a bit over priced. I recently went to a Cuban/ Colombian restaurant in Philly and, although their empanadas were much smaller, they were also around $2 per empanada, actually I think they are $1.50 and equally as yummy!

                                                Our drinks arrived in the midst of all this...and we each told her exactly what bottle of drink we wanted, but what we got was a glass filled w/ ice and part of our bottle of drink poured in and brought to the table. My husband said...where is the rest of our bottle and I told him, I think since the glass was pretty large, that the whole bottle must have been poured into the glasses we had...I was giving them the benefit of the doubt...More on this later!

                                                I had to ask for extra napkins during the eating of the empanada because I don't like greasy fingers, and they arrived swiftly.

                                                Next course, the Cuban and the roast pork sandwiches: We each took half of the sandwiches and shared.
                                                Both sandwiches arrived in the plastic basket, white wax paper deal. It was lunch service, so I cant complain, but I hope their dinner services don't include many plastic baskets.
                                                The sandwiches are on what looks like unseeded Italian bread but flat...I mean the crust doesn't have any of the breaks and openings that Italian bread usually has, this was uniform on the outside. Each sandwich was pressed and or grilled and nicely flattened, very crispy. Thumbs up on that!

                                                I tried the roast pork sandwich first...it was very plain, tho it did have pickle on it. I commented immediately that it needed something. I looked around for a hot sauce, something...I saw nothing. I had one or two more bites of that one and swiftly moved on to the Cuban sandwich.
                                                The Cuban was very good! Very tasty...ham, pickle, Swiss cheese nicely melted, mustard, mayo. It all worked together very well. Both me and my husband ditched the roast pork to finish our Cuban halves....we brought the RP home to add some garlic and Saucy Susan to later on lol.

                                                Back to the drinks...The waitress noticed that my husband's drink was finished and asked if we wanted more. So, he asks, was that my whole bottle and she said no, but I think I gave you the wrong one...there was all this confusion over what drink he had, and his bottle got thrown out, there was this other bottle up there but she doesn't think it was his....all of this could be avoided if she just brought the bottle to the table when we first got our drinks. She asked me if I wanted the rest of my drink and of course I said yes. She brings my bottle to me, and I was astounded that not even half of my bottle was used up and poured into that very large glass w/ all that ice. So, I'm having an issue with how they present and offer their beverages to the customers. For $2.00 a bottle, I got less than half and if there wasn't all that confusion over my husband's drink, I probably wouldn't even have gotten the rest of my bottle. He chose FUZE diet green tea w/ orange and ginger and I chose a 10 calorie per serving Glacieau or Vitamin Water. The bottle he was given was not even a diet drink, but a mango papaya which wasn't even the actual drink he was presented with at the beginning of our meal. I did get the correct beverage, and now have almost a full bottle of it in my fridge lol.

                                                We did not order dessert, but I noticed one table ordered what i am assuming was the tres leches cake, one piece to share amongst 4 people...then they odered a second piece to share. It didnt look "real" to me, but seeing that they ordered a second of the same, I almost wanted to try it.

                                                After we paid, the waitress was up at the register with the owner learning how to do it or something, it seemed to take forever to get back to our table.

                                                In conclusion...I have mixed reviews. The empanada and Cuban sandwich were really good. The roast pork was lacking and the drink service is just weird! lol....I will give them another try for sure! They are a local Freehold business, and I want them to do well. I think once they get past the Grand Opening confusion, things will improve. Next time I go, I am taking my own bottle of drink out of their fridge and bringing it to the table!

                                                xoxo,
                                                Michelle

                                                PS...The waitress came over during both courses to ask how everything was. This is another pet peeve of mine because my mouth is usually full when they arrive to ask this, and I really hate being interrupted during my meals. The owner also stopped by to ask if everything was allright.

                                              2. re: Tapas52
                                                s
                                                Shelley Hooper Sep 1, 2009 11:21 AM

                                                And by the way you're right around the corner from an excellent!!! farmstand, heading up Wemrock road to the corner of Wemrock and Gully road, it's called the farm, excellent jersey tomatoes, peaches, corn and much more! I'm a volunteer there, will work for chow:) And the cuban place is good and Mahzu is excellent sushi!!

                                        2. re: wench31
                                          b
                                          bcmchong Jan 15, 2010 05:33 PM

                                          Friday night, just got home from having dinner there. My girlfriend ordered the red snapper and I had the Lechon Adadas (spelling?). Firstly service was poor. Kitchen was not in sync with 'Front-of-house'. Entres took almost 35 minutes to come out and both dishes were bland at best. My pork was dry. I asked for the skin to be crispy and it came out soggy. Had to send it back. Both were pooly seasoned. Just not a great experience and it was not inexpensive. I was disappointed and won't be going back any time soon. Really too bad. It could be so much better - poor execution.

                                        3. Angelina Jan 23, 2009 04:50 AM

                                          Girl, you get around! haa haa! I just read your post in Howell. Anyway, thanks! I LOVE ropa veija..so that will be a nice change from the sea of bad Italian restaurants we have!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Angelina
                                            r
                                            RGR Jan 23, 2009 05:49 AM

                                            Angelina,

                                            I wouldn't get too enthusiastic just yet. We need to see how the food stacks up. True, it will be different, but I'm keeping my expectations low as to how good it will be. Yes, I know, I'm being my usual cynical self. :-))

                                            1. re: RGR
                                              Angelina Jan 23, 2009 01:46 PM

                                              I LOVE your cynical self, RGR!!! You are the master of picking great restaurants!! SO don't change!! lol

                                              You are right...this place might be another "Chicken Parm" place...ha ha!!

                                            2. re: Angelina
                                              s
                                              Shelley Hooper Sep 1, 2009 11:19 AM

                                              Amen to that! I found the menu to be a bit limited but very tasty, with great ambience!

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