The food here is farm and sea fresh presenting familiar Latin flavors cumin, garlic, pepper, and flecks of cilantro and abundant tomato-based sauces.
The menu boasts classic Cuban dishes like ropa vieja and the Cuban sandwich, culturally-shared dishes such as pernil asado, and Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo.
|Mofongo (Mashed, unripened plaintain with pork rinds. I've also had it with chicken and shrimp substituted for pork)|
With typical pork and beef heavy dishes, on this particular night we sampled a couple of seafood dishes and the must have ropa vieja.
Loved their mixed ceviche and the fact that it included mussels, which was a new experience for me as an interesting component.
|A few Side dishes:Tostones (twice-fried plantain), crisp plaintain strips, red beans and rice|
|Cuban pork tamale|
Anyone who knows me personally or reads this blog knows how excited I am when my protein comes with it's head and body intact! There's no flavor or level of moisture that can be added post cooking to fish, poultry or even pork for that matter, than when cooked intact. Check out my previous heads-on raves at Suya Joint (Nigerian Restaurant) , a day in Chinatown Boston on a Foodie Tour , and of course prawns should never lose their heads and if you stuff them with delicious leek and liver mousse, like Chef Carey Dobies at Savvor, they're magic!
I've tried the whole snapper fried with tostones, arroz congri (Cuban rice & black beans) and mofongo as take out prior to ever eating there and was happy there are no corners cut when not dining in the restaurant.
|Whole fried red snapper with arroz congri, mofongo, and tostones|
You can also order it with garlic sauce as below or coconut.
The meat is so tender, juicy, and abundant, it seems you can eat from the same dish for days!
The ropa vieja (a succulent slow-cooked shredded beef dish) was fantastic. Its balanced flavors of onion, pepper, tomato, and garlic was made all the more great by the fall apart strips of beef and tender veg. Even still, my favorite ropa vieja was in Vero Beach, Florida at The Wave.
Check out El Oriental de Cuba on your next visit to JP!