Bites Nearby: Classic Cuban Cuisine in Downtown Silver Spring, Part 2
Flavors and atmosphere give diners an authentic experience at Cubano's.
From the beginning, the owners of Cubano's wanted a place that celebrates the Cuban culture. When Adolfo Mendez and his wife, Rocio Anzolo, opened their restaurant on Fidler Lane 11 years ago, they created a menu that showcases the Spanish and Caribbean influences on Cuban cuisine. (Read part one of this restaurant profile.)
"Cubans have inherited the seasonings from Spain with the offerings from the tropics," said Mendez. "We use a lot of garlic and olive oil. We don't have any vegetable oil or lard in the kitchen. We cook with only good olive oil."
The result is food some patrons return to order again and again.
"I'm originally from the Caribbean. The taste of the food is very similar to Haitian food that I eat a lot. That's why I really like it," said Francois Firmin, a Cubano's regular.
Firmin almost always gets the Masitas de Puerco Cuba Libre, which is crispy fried morsels of pork sautéed with onions. His friend, David Paschane favors the fish.
"I like the atmosphere, and I love the food," said Paschane. "It is filling, well-prepared and tastes great."
Firmin and Paschane also like the staff and service at Cubano's, and so does another patron, Violeta Meza.
"The flavor is different from other Latino restaurants. We sometimes come here for lunch. Whenever we come here, we really enjoy the food, and the service is great," said Meza.
The Ropa Vieja, a classic Cuban dish of shredded beef, is among the most popular entrees. Another favorite is the Fricasé de Pollo, chicken on the bone that is simmered with potatoes, onions, garlic, bay leaf and wine-splashed tomato sauce.
If you are dining with a group of extremely hungry friends, the Mi Tierra combines samples of the Ropa Vieja, Lechón Asada (roasted pork in bitter orange marinade) and Fricasé de Pollo for $9.95. Cubano's Signature Paella for Two, a Spanish entree that costs $42.95, is also a frequent choice of couples.
The restaurant's entrees are in the range of $16 and up. Appetizers start around $5.50. The desserts will cost you about $6.50. A regular mojito cocktail is $7.95.
Cubano's has a full service bar offering mixed drinks, wine and beer. Mendez visited the place in Cuba where mojitos originated. He kept the recipe the same for the Cuban cocktail served at his restaurant, but he does have a few changes in mind for the future.
"We will keep doing the good things we are doing and try to add more. I started with specials for the weekend," said Mendez. "We're probably going to do something with music in the fall, and use the terrace in a different way."
Mendez and his wife have plans to advertise their catering service at Cubano's now that their partnership with the owner of Nellie's Sports Bar, a DC restaurant, requires less time. They hope never to lose the welcoming spirit that made Cubano's a refuge for family and customers before development transformed downtown Silver Spring.
More information about the lunch and dinner service at Cubano's is available on the restaurant's website or call 301-563-4020.
Note: This is a restaurant profile, not a review. Opinions expressed do not represent the ideas of the writer or Patch.