Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Last Cuban Bite out of Miami

David's Cafe (If you click this link be prepared to be blasted with some loud Latin music.  Don't say I didn't warn you)
South Beach, Florida
April 7, 2010
10ish pm

Well, I definitely couldn't leave Miami without having a Cubano sandwich!  We heard David's had a great one as well as some other classic home style Cuban foods.  Also on the positive, it was open 24 hours!  So on our last evening in Miami we took our final leisurely walk down Ocean Drive stopping to people watch and having the occasional drink before deciding it was time for a later dinner.  Here's a quick shot of me after a drink at the famous Clevelander. 

As we walked over to David's we immediately noted the traditional South Beach decor.  Since it was later in the evening, but not yet time for the clubbers to be piling in, the restaurant was fairly deserted.  But we were warmly welcomed and took a seat at the counter. 

I already knew what I wanted, but Erik took some time to decide which Cuban delicacy to try.  While he poured over the menu we were served some Cuban bread to nibble on.  It was lusciously buttered. 

Erik decided on the albondigas catalana (meatballs) with yuca frita (cassava) and frijoles negros (black beans).  This dish was simply amazing!  The meatballs were light and tender and the sauce had an interesting mildly spiced flavor. There was just a hint of cinnamon and possibly cayenne that made for an interesting spin on what we are used to as the typical meatball dish.  We had never had fried yuca before and were pleasantly surprised by the tender, warm center and crispy fried outside.  This could easily be a great alternative to the french fry.  The black beans and rice were also nicely spiced and flavorful. 

I, as was aforementioned, ordered the sandwich cubano.  I must say I was a little underwhelmed.  It was not a bad sandwich by any stretch, but it also wasn't much more than a ham sandwich I might make myself for lunch when trying to conserve some calories by not adding too many fillings.  To me, the sandwich was heavy on the bread and light on the fillings.  The Cuban bread was fresh and good.  The ham and pork were also good, and the traditional additions of pickles and yellow mustard make for a good ham sandwich.  I just wanted more of it all!  I also was not a huge fan of David's style of fries.  They were julienned and very crispy, almost to the point of being more of a potato chip's texture than a french fry.  I missed the tender inside of a thicker cut fry. 

But honestly the highlight of the place, was the cook of the evening.  I have never been able to watch a cook who seemed so simply happy to be doing his job.  He took such care in assembling each dish, was truly interested in what we thought of things, and almost seemed to be whistling and dancing as he worked!  He just seemed to have a contagious positive zest for life that made dinner at David's that much more enjoyable.  And this was how he was at 10 o'clock at night!  Here's a glimpse as he puts another sandwich together (too bad I didn't get a shot from the front). 

Overall, we enjoyed David's.  The meatballs were fantastic, but the Cubano was just so so for me.  We'd definitely go back, but probably stay with the home style dishes and fried yuca! 

Total Price:  Not sure again, but things were very reasonable.  The albondigas were about $10 and the Cubano was about $9. 

Overall Rating:  3 1/2 buckeyes

David's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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