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Cubacan - Asbury Park

Has anyone tried Cubacan recently? This is the restaurant that replaced the Boards next to Stella Marina on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. From what I understand, the restaurant had a soft opening a few weeks ago. Pictures on Facebook look pretty good.
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx...

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Stella Marina Bar & Restaurant
1200 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

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  1. The only mention of it I can find online is here. Kinda sketchy, but I have been jonesing for ceviche...

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AsburyP...

    1 Reply
    1. I went there last night with a friend, we ate at the bar. I have to tell you that the pineapple jalapeno margarita was fantastic! But there are definitely some opening pains going on. Didn't seem like the bartenders knew what they were doing...My friends Mojito had to be remade because it was made with just straight lime juice...she was puckered up. ;-) Then they took forever to make her a new one, actually waited on others before getting back to hers...at least 10 minutes. We had Tapas , traditional Cubano and empanadas (very good). And then we topped it off with the sweet corn ice cream! delish! So all in all when they get through the growing pains in the front of the house, the food will carry them! I will definitely go back

      1 Reply
      1. re: dedgley

        Thanks for the review. Sounds interesting.

      2. Ate their for lunch yesterday. Loved it. I would recommend the cerviche sampler...the tuna/shrimp is spicy hot...but good. and the salmon was out of this world...i thought about licking the bowl clean. the potato salad, while it sounded yummy, was a disappointment. the whole corn cob chunks in the soup were off-putting...how do you eat them? and judging by the plates going by, I will be back to try the rest of the menu.

        8 Replies
        1. re: cathdl

          Is the ceviche cooked (heated) or just marinated in citrus?

          1. re: equal_Mark

            My understanding of it is: if heated it's not ceviche.

            1. re: fershore

              That does not keep places like Juanitos from putting cooked dished on the menu as "Ceviche." So the question remains unanswered...

              1. re: equal_Mark

                I called them (732 774-3007). Rob said the ceviche is marinated in citrus and then poached. Sigh.

                They are working on their website and plan to have it up next week.

                1. re: fershore

                  Thanks for the info, don't know why I did not think to call.

                  Well, it's not all that hard. Will just have to stir up a batch on my own...

                  1. re: fershore

                    >the ceviche is marinated in citrus and then poached.

                    WHY????

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      Probably in an effort to appeal to their average customer who would normally be turned off by citrus "cooked" fish.

            2. re: cathdl

              If the soup was caldo de pollo, it's traditional to serve pieces of corn cobs in it. You just pick them up and eat the corn off of them, using your spoon to get the cobs out if you'd like. :)

            3. I was there this past Saturday night --4 of us. Overall we were underwhelmed. Food was mediocre-service was good but slow--our drinks came after our apps arrived. I had ropa vieja that was unfortunately tough and had no flavor. The presentation was nice--but if the food is bland so it kind of ruins it. Friends had the shrimp with garlic which you couldn't taste the garlic and the snapper which had little to no flavor--sans the sauce on the side that was coconut based but not barely tasted like coconut. We opted out of dessert since the front door (both-the interior and exterior) were kept open which was letting in a cold breeze and tons of smoke from people smoking directly outside. We complained but nothing was done to close the doors. We might give them a second try later this summer to see if they have improved but I am not in a rush to go back....

              1. i have! amazing. love the plaintain chips. empanadas. different hot sauces to try to please any palate.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sutah

                  Care to opine in a bit more detail?

                2. I tried Cubacan last weekend. I loved it! When we first sat down we were given warm bread and a mango butter - it was different and delicious. For an appetizer we tried the ceviche sampler. My husband isn't a big fish eater but even he liked the shrimp ceviche. (he would try the others b/c they were "raw"). The other 2 were tuna and snapper. All 3 were very good and flavorful. I had never tried ceviche before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm a big sushi eater so I wasn't afraid of raw fish. Even the texture was good! My husband tried cuban corn on the cob and he LOVED IT!
                  For dinner I had the paella and it was delicious - the rice was a perfect texture, the seafood and sausage were really yummy. The chicken was a little dry but all in all it was a very good paella. My husband had a pork meal and it was very good. The rice that came with it was kind of plain in his opinion.
                  I really liked our waiter - he was kind enough to explain things on the menu when I asked. The hosts were 2 girls that were sisters - they were very nice and polite and directed us to a really nice table on the boardwalk with a view of the ocean. We were able to hear the Indigo girls playing live at the Stone Pony during the meal. It was very romantic.
                  I would recommend this restaurant and will probably eat there again.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TReysar

                    Ok here it goes, great appetizers, great service, ok price on drinks and for dinner head somewhere else... Very impressed with the Ceviche sampler, good empanadas and we had a great server to boot. When it came to dinner the chef must have lost his balls sometime in between. The rice and beans was as boring as a recipe in the back of a Goya can, the ropa vieja was as soupy as it was lacking prescence and my wife's mariscada was just pitiful. Seafood was cooked to the correct consistency but the broth lacked any semblance of flavor, you could have boiled a used sweatsock and gotten more taste out of it. Dinner tasted the way you'd expect it to taste if you had tried a Rachel Ray 30 minute crap recipe.
                    As for the ambiance, that's the highlight of the place, lively, busy and awesome live music at the bar on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately the rum selection at the bar was awful. Come on if you have a "Cuban" place with live music why not have at least one aged sipping rum. All in all will go back for apps and drinks to enjoy live music but dinner... I better see some extraordinary post here before I try something else. P.s. I shared how I felt with the manager before leaving...

                    1. re: Ejsanti

                      Mr. diva and I drove down to the shore last night to escape the oppressive heat, and we decided to give Cubacan a try. We had a cocktail or two at Watermark to start, and were enjoying the lovely breezes off the Atlantic before we headed downstairs to the patio for dinner.

                      Overall, the meal was a solid good, not great. The chorizo empanadas were very good with a flavorful dipping sauce. The ropa vieja was good, but more vinegary and tomato-y than I'm used to, or that I make myself. The accompanying maduros, however, were made with under-ripe plantains and thus lacked flavor--maduros should be made with overripe, nearly black ones, luscious when done correctly. The black beans and rice were just OK.

                      We also tried the ceviche sampler, including the shrimp, salmon, and snapper, and the shrimp and salmon were the favorites because of the refreshing heat and citrus. The snapper was a little under "cooked," and the mango in the mix was not quite ripe. The Cuban soup was served piping hot, but we would have preferred a richer and homier tasting chicken broth. I agree with a previous poster that folks might be well-advised to stick with apps and drinks. The salads that I saw come out of the kitchen also looked good, though we didn't try any.

                  2. Is it just me? or are there an inordinate amount of 1'st timers chiming in on this tread?Not a bad thing ,mind you and par for the course on treads about Jersey shore restaurants and bars for some reason.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Duppie

                      We went to Asbury last Sunday ( first time in 30 yrs. ) to hit the beach. Noonish we headed to the boards for some snacks. Cubacan has outdoor seating for about 75 people. Only four tables were occupied. No host at the podium, se we headed to a shaded table for two. Some rude and nasty server guy went right at me with "you must wait to be seated!". I walked right past him and we sat. Our server quickly arrived with a smile and menus. Busboy quickly filled icewater and brought little rolls with mango butter. Ordered their wings with some type of tropical glaze, and the classic Cuban sandwhich. 90 + degrees, the busboy kept the ice water coming. The wings were really awesome, but I was dying for the Buffalo stuff. The glaze did nothing. But 10 very large wings for only $6.95. A steal. The sandwhich ($8.95) was an empty dissappointment. Maybe 3 ounces of ham. But our female server was great. I mentioned the nasty waiter's rudeness; she mentioned, (oh, he's from Russia). No matter where he's from, perhaps the 'hospitality' industry's not for him.

                      1. re: chefdaddyo

                        We were there Sat nite (8/13). Reservation for seven at 5pm (concert in OG) made days before. We get there at 5, barely a soul sitting inside, and we're told by the hostess (who had a bit of an attitude at that) that all seven of us will need to squeeze into a half round, corner booth meant four four people because larger tables are being held for 6pm reservations. We're then offered the option of splitting the party into two tables. Obviously unacceptable. Finally, after some back and forth dialogue, she generously allows us to squeeze, not completely uncomfortably, into a rectangular table for six, one of us on the end.

                        Ten minutes then go by -- no water, no menus, no interaction at all; the entire staff is having a meeting. Finally, our waitress (named Alex, I believe), comes over to get our drink order. We inform her we're still waiting for menus. She was sincerely apologetic, brought us our menus, and the unacceptable service portion of the evening was over. I should also mention that for some arguably absurd reason, customers wearing sleeveless shirts are not seated inside. At a restaurant on the boardwalk? Seriously? More than a little pretentious - this is not fine dining.

                        Drinks came - we all had various flavors of mojitos. Not cheap, and not a lot of alcohol.

                        Appetizers came. No real complaints, but one could argue that the definition of 'heirloom' tomato was stretched a bit, though the salad, in a light cilantro dressing, was quite good.

                        Our entrees were all well prepared, The churasco, a grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, rice and beans - cooked accurately and tender. Good, not great, rice and beans.A couple of pork dishes were tasty, I'm told. Same for the mariscada. None of it exceptional, but all quite tasty. We passed on a blah dessert menu, and we headed over to Day's Ice Cream in Ocean Grove instead.

                        One other note -- a robust Spanish red wine order that came out incorrectly -- a chilled glass of rose was served. When I brought it to our waitress' attention, she reappeared with the bartender (or owner, perhaps), who apologized and offered two different wine choices in replacement.

                        Would I go back given the attitude we were given when we arrived? I wouldn't refuse to go back if our friends, who live nearby, wanted to do so, but I wouldn't be the one to suggest it given the alternatives in the Asbury/Ocean Grove/Bradley area.

                    2. Had an absolutely terrible meal there after the Jukes show last month. All three of us were extremely disappointed with our food. The rice tasted as though it had been sitting on a steam table for hours, and the pork and chicken dishes we tried were bland and inauthentic. At the time, there was a lively bar scene going on inside, with live music. As a nightclub, it might be fun, but if you are looking for a serious Cuban restaurant, I'd suggest you go elsewhere.