Friday, May 3, 2013

Morales Cuban Cafe

One of our favorite places in our new home town is Morales. This Cuban cafe is authentic in every sense.

 I've read many of the reviews on UrbanSpoon and feel compelled to give a fuller picture.

 First - the atmosphere is exactly perfect. Before you even get inside, the classic car parked outside and the style of the building make you feel like you've stepped back into pre-Castro Cuba.

 Second, the service isn't "slow" - the entire restaurant operates on a different timetable. If you are working at typical American speed and looking for a fast sandwich - go to McDonalds. This is a place to relax, enjoy a meal and not be rushed. Here's a hint - they have a magazine rack in the dining room. Go grab some reading material, order a coffee and take a break. The food is coming - and it'll be all the more tasty because they took the time to prepare it fresh for you.

 Third, the wait staff isn't rude, and they do know how to explain what is on the menu. English isn't their first language, but I've never had any trouble communicating. A smile goes a long way. The menu is complete with many classic appetizers and sandwiches, while the dinner menu rotates each day with 5 or 6 menu items of the day.

 On Tuesday, Gayle had chicken and yellow rice with fried sweet plantain. I had the fried chicken with red beans and rice. The star of the show was the stuffed cassava. It was a deep-fried cassava root, stuffed with some sort of pork chorizo, served with this incredible dipping sauce. The sauce was sort of garlic/onion/vinegar/tomato and was really perfectly seasoned. Morales Cuban Cafe on Urbanspoon

We had the cuban sandwich for lunch a few weeks ago, and it was really tasty. I read a lot of nit-picking about the sandwich - it's obvious that people are passionate and take them seriously around here. All I can say is that I've eaten cuban sandwiches at many local restaurants and these are among the best. It's tough competition around here, most restaurants in SW florida that serve a cuban do an excellent job. Note that I don't count the "cubans" wrapped in white paper at the Publix deli or any of the local gas stations. Just because you slapped a couple pieces of ham and a dill pickle on a loaf of white bread doesn't mean you can call it a cuban sandwich. The cubans at Morales are hot, pressed, crispy with melted swiss cheese. I thought the ratio of roast to ham was good. I don't believe you'll find a better one at a better price.

 Morales is one of our regular stops - we eat there a few times a month. You should give it a try.