Kuba Kuba: Colorful Cuisine with the Garnish of Cuba
By Aleena Inthaly
I was roaming the streets of Havana where the sun highlighted fresh produce in vendor stands. Traditional Cuban music echoed the streets as if the pastel colored buildings were singing. But I was not in Havana. This authentic Cuban vibe was coming from Kuba Kuba, a restaurant serving colorful, modern cuisine with the garnish of timeless Cuban recipes.
It feels like home when you first enter the restaurant. The kitchen is open which allows the customers to see who is cooking and what is going on between the staff. You can always see the owner, a chef behind the bar with a long scruffy white beard slaving over a hot stove or making sandwiches.
The menu consists of all different types of appetizers, brunch/breakfast, and entree options that range in the -22 dollar range. It does come off as a little pricey for a casual small restaurant but that may be because of their oversized portions. Someone who is not fluent in Spanish may have a hard time reading the menu or pronouncing the dishes to the servers but the menu is just another addition to making the restaurant feel more authentic.
There is a separate wine menu. This includes all different kinds of wines (vinos) from varying locations such as Sierra Cruz from Chile and Clara Benegas from Argentina. The wine menu proves that this place is an adult-friendly, making it a great place to bring your parents.
The food itself had tons of surprises. Such as the dishes that were twice the size of my head. I ordered the Huevos Rancheros, which is two eggs on Cuban toast covered with beans and rice. The firstbite I took was heavenly: it melted in my mouth and the cheese was gooey and flexible. After the next three bites though, it wasn’t so tasty any more. Just eggs on toast covered in bread, which was not what I was looking for.
My friend had a dish called Kuban Roast Pork which had slow cooked Cuban marinated pork with rice, beans, and plantains. The dish itself was colorful and was extremely lovely to look at and taste.
The disappointment in the food though, was that judging from other Cuban food I’ve had before, the taste was mediocre. Grabbing a few bites of my friends dish, I realized the rice was a little undercooked and that the plantains were dry in the center. Given that the aesthetic of the restaurant was spot on, the food came off a little short. It was a disappointment.
The highlight of my night at Kuba Kuba was the Cafe con Leche. After finishing the average Huevos, I decided to order the famous espresso with condensed milk. For coffee lovers, the taste was absolutely subtle and exquisite. It went down my throat like a warm blanket just covering all the cold spots. If I go again, I will definitely order the espresso first.
For those who want to try something new and exciting, I would highly recommend Kuba Kuba. The service is great, the atmosphere is top notch and overall it’s a wonderful place to catch brunch and dinner. However for those who know Cuban food and have lived in Cuba all their lives, Kuba Kuba might not be right. They might be easily disappointed.
For more information visit KubaKuba.info. Kuba Kuba is located on the corner of North Lombardy and Park Avenue in the Fan. They are open all week and have daily specials after 5 pm.