I remember the waitress bringing a pitcher of beautiful mojitos, with the clear liquid and bits of fragrant mint floating up from the bottom where they had been muddled into relinquishing their delicious essences. And I remember the fried plantains as an appetizer but that’s about all I remember from my visit to Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar, Denver in the cute little house at 1173 Delaware Street near the Denver Art Museum. Darned those mojitos! They obliterated my memory of anything else I ate there that night.
With a much clearer head, I gave their latest little sister restaurant a try (minus those mojito temptresses). Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria in Glendale in the new CitySet off of Colorado Boulevard and Cherry Creek Drive South. I was immediately struck by the bright colors and fabulous music. I could almost feel island breezes blowing in through the door.
I ordered at the counter. Too hungry to spend too much time perusing, I went with a standard, the Pan Con Lechon ($8), a slow-roasted pork sandwich with sauteed onions, veggie-citrus slaw and mojo aioli on toasted Cuban bread. I loved it. The textures and flavors were great. I could have also ordered the famous Cubano sandwich, a tradition that combines roasted pork with ham, swiss, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread but to tell you the truth, it’s just not my favorite combination, even though it’s, like, the national sandwich of Cuba. Sorry Cuba. They also had sandwiches made with steak and chicken, all variations on the toasty theme.
The Cuban fries (thin, shoestring beauties) were good but I had ignored the recommendation of the guy who took my order. He said he preferred the sweet plantains. They were probably better – a little more exotic. Next time.
Cuba Cuba also serves plates served with white rice and black beans. The Picadillo sounds particularly interesting with seasoned ground beef, peppers, onions, raisins and capers.
Those mojitos are there too, what with their Bacardi Limon rum, fresh mint, limes and simple syrup. As is beer and sangria. And there’s dessert too, of course. Flan, Tres Leches Cake and Pastelito, guava and creem cheese filled puffed pastry.
Even for a quick lunch, such as I had, the atmosphere at Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria felt like a little party. I look forward to returning for dinner, perhaps on a warm night when I might actually feel breezes coming in. I’ll order one mojito, take bites of my delicious meal, close my eyes and dream of being on an island.
Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria is located at CitySet Glendale, 654 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver.