Friday, February 27, 2009

Siempre Kuba Kuba

"Always Kuba Kuba", a play on coca-cola's tagline, is the catch phrase for this cozy bodega style restaurant in Richmond VA. Only 10 minutes from the I-95, this place is a very pleasant distraction for those, like us, who are crazy enough to make the twenty-hour trek from Florida to New York.

In the heart of an area called "The Fan", specifically on the corner of Park Ave and Lombardy Street, Kuba Kuba gives an interesting twist to Cuban cuisine. Outside, the wooden bench and rocking chair give it a country home feel while the mural painting adds an element of urban Latino culture.

When you look around inside, you’ll realize the owner's intentions to make the restaurant look and feel like a bodega. It feels fresh and familiar like looking through my own pantry. We learned from one of the servers that the owner's father sold food products out of their home, making this theme a natural progression. They also allow customers to purchase some of the Latin American ingredients that come together to form Kuba Kuba's tasty meals.

When it comes down to the food, the highlight was the Entremes appetizer. This consists of a salad topped with chorizo, queso blanco, scallops, ham, marinated olives, and Amazing roasted garlic! which is so good that i popped the whole cloves in my mouth like candy. There is also Cuban toast on the side that seemed to be a hit with Jaquie. It was as if the chef read my mind and placed all my favorite foods in a bowl. Amazing, to say the least, right down to the homemade Balsamic vinagrette. Needless to say that when the server brought my entree, I completely ignored it.

Jaquie ordered the Paella Valenciana that skews from the traditional dish because of the soupiness and concentration of veggies. The dish has potential, but the presence of so many salty capers built a roadblock for our taste buds, making that the lasting impression.

I enjoyed the Kuban roast pork that was seasoned well and marinated in a savory mojo sauce. Though I tried to get along with the rice and beans because I typically love this combination, it seems to be a bit bland and lacking a little something something.
While the food has it's extremely high highs and not so low lows, Kuba Kuba is worth the visit to experience its creative decor and community feel. The people are friendly and customers seemed happy and at home. It's pleasing to see unique Latin style so openly accepted in a city where less than 3% of the population is Hispanic. If you have a chance, check out the restaurant's site and keep it in mind if you’re ever in the area.

Kuba Kuba on Urbanspoon


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