Jorge Castillo: Wow, Cubanitas looks just like any typical Cuban restaurant you'd find in Miami or New Jersey.
Raúl Musibay: And that's a real compliment!
Glenn Lindgren: In other words, Cubanitas is a great little restaurant – seating for 50 at most – that gets everything right without pretensions.
Raúl Musibay: Hey, it's simple and down to earth and the food is great.
Jorge Castillo: Many times when Cuban food makes it to parts of the country where the real Cubans are few and far between, it gets "packaged" to satisfy what the proprietors think is the American taste.
Glenn Lindgren: Nowhere is this more prevalent than the Midwest, where we frequently find "watered down" Cuban, or "gourmet" Cuban – think Cuban sandwiches with raspberry vinaigrette – or the places with split personalities that try to be more Mexican than Cuban, because everyone knows that Anglos are more comfortable with Mexican food!
Jorge Castillo: Worst of all are the "frou-frou" Cuban places, all style and no substance. They have the beautifully decorated interiors, the cigar bar, the stuffy tropical atmosphere...
Glenn Lindgren: The frou-frou Cuban places also feature improperly made mojitos – there is no such thing as a "dry" mojito – and food that is overpriced, over-produced, and Cuban in name only.
Raúl Musibay: Cubanitas however, is a real Cuban restaurant.
Jorge Castillo: They stick to real Cuban food, simply prepared and presented. The menu is small but still manages to cover the most popular Cuban classics.
Raúl Musibay: We heard that they were getting their Cuban bread shipped in daily from New Jersey. We're not sure if this is still the case, but the sandwiches are good here.
Glenn Lindgren: One problem with the Cuban – they use a mustard aioli, and although we appreciate the garlic we're purists: we always avoid mayonnaise and mustard on our Cuban sandwiches! If you ask them to hold the sauce, the sandwich is going to be quite dry.
Jorge Castillo: We wish they'd make a more traditional Cubano with a generous slathering of butter and a splash of mojo and leave the mustard aioli to those frou-frou places!
Glenn Lindgren: Cubanitas does pass our lechón test with flying colors. The roasted pork is tender and moist and you can taste the garlic and sour orange in every bite.
Raúl Musibay: And if you can't, Cubanitas thoughtfully supplies a little cup of mojo so you can drown your pork in this tangy sauce as we do!
Jorge Castillo: Cubanitas offers just a few appetizers although there are several sides available on the menu that make great appetizers. The empanadas are especially tasty and our favorite is the spinach and Manchego cheese, it's almost like eating in Madrid.
Glenn Lindgren: Be sure to check out the daily specials as they seem to inspire the chef to new heights – the Boliche on Wednesdays is especially popular.
Jorge Castillo: Many locals are coming in Saturday for the tortilla Española, a traditional Spanish omelette with onions and potatoes. Served as a tapas item inSpain, and a dinner entree in Miami, it also make a great late breakfast.
Raúl Musibay: If you don't get the version with chorizo, you're making a big mistake!
HOURS: Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. | Sunday Closed
PRICES: Most entrees between $10.50 and $13.00
CARDS: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa