Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#19: Alma de Cuba

Alma De Cuba, post 2 of my restaurant week series.  So pumped to write this. I've heard how great Alma De Cuba was, I've walked past the place many times, nestled on Walnut street among the shops, but I was still curious what it was all about. When I say that I've heard how great Alma De Cuba was, I mean mostly through my cousins, Melissa & Jeff's, raves. So I thought it would be a perfect idea to invite them down for restaurant week to join us at Alma De Cuba! I also prefer going to new places with people who have been there before. Sometimes these ethnic menus confuse me and its nice to have some back up.

Alma de Cuba was surprisingly big. It looks pretty small from the outside, but there were 3 floors with plenty of seating. The restaurant was dark, with candles and red lighting all around to make the place feel intimate and trendy.  Their restaurant week menu was pretty limited, only about 3 or 4 choices per course. That being said, I would have liked to order every option.

Melissa and Jeff talked up Alma de Cuba's El Jefe Mojito all summer, so clearly had to get that. It was worth the hype. The only complaint I have is that the glass was pretty small for being $12. (Are you shocked that I am complaining about a drink being too much money and too small?) Just a side note, you are not supposed to eat the sugar cane stick in the drink. Chewing it and then having to spit it out on your bread plate is not a good look.


During restaurant week you typically have to order your 3 courses up front. This is a lot of pressure. I slightly panicked and ordered the black bean soup, the Panca Glazed Chicken with yucca fries and plantains and the Tembleque for dessert. After I avoided saying any word that I didn't know how to pronounce to the waiter, I thought, do I even like black beans? What even is black bean soup ? I am going to get sick? Fortunately, it was delicious. I don't want to go ahead and say that I would order black bean soup from anywhere else just yet, but baby steps.

Other starter items we got were the Smoked Albacore Tacos and the Plantains. I didn't get a chance to try the tacos, so I am going to go ahead and assume they were good since everyone ate them pretty quickly.  The plantains tied the black bean soup for my favorite part of the meal. They were perfectly sweet with a buttermilk sauce. I basically ate most of my meal in plantains. Ugh, I miss them.


Melissa got the Cuban Shrimp and Grits for her meal and Brendan and Jeff got the Vaca Frita (skirt steak with rice and beans). I got to try both entrees and they were basically amazing.  


For dessert I was the only adventurous one and got the Tembleque when everyone else got the Alfajores (boring cookie sandwich). Tembleque is a Puerto Rican custard with a mango sorbet. I didn't love this. The custard tasted like flan to me, even though I've never had flan. It had a spong-ey texture and stood straight up on its own.

Overall, we had a great time at Alma de Cuba. Once Melissa & Jeff got over me taking pictures of their meals before they could have a bite with my obnoxious camera flash, we were good. We basically tried everything on the restaurant week menu, and if you know anything about my aversion to ordering the same thing as anyone else at the table, you know that this made me happy.

My advice for Alma de Cube: get the mojito, get the black bean soup, get the plantains, expect to pay a pretty penny!

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