Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First trip to Mi Cuba Cafe on Park Road: not blown away, but I'll give it another shot

Last week, the Post wrote a glowing review of Mi Cuba Cafe located at 1424 Park Rd NW, and I thought I'd give it a try. I must admit I wasn't too impressed, but I'm willing to give them another shot.

The place, which formerly was the really tasty Paila Chilean Grill, was packed when we got there -- a good sign for them. Paila, which got good reviews and which I was a fan of, never had much of a crowd at all. I think the crowd we saw was because of the Post reviews, but I think it might also have been the cause of some of the problems my friend and I had on our visit.

My buddy, who's been before, said the Cuban sandwich was really good, but I figured I'd try some things I haven't had. I went for the pollo aporreado (shredded chicken in a tomato sauce) while my buddy got the bistec empanizado, breaded and fried thin steak. Each entree comes with two sides,  so I got garlic yuca and arroz congri, a traditional dish with black beans and rice with spices, while my buddy got the regular black beans and white rice.

The first red flag was that the food came out in about five minutes, and my buddy's steak was lukewarm. To me, that means they were making things ahead of time and leaving them out for awhile. His tasted ok, but certainly would have been better hotter. My chicken was decent, my buddy said it was sort of like a sloppy joe, which is true. I should have gone for the sandwich or ropa vieja, a traditional steak dish. (Here's the whole menu.) As for the sides, the congri was tasty, while the garlic yuca was super garlicky, and not in a good way.

But considering the place was slammed, and I tried some new things to me, I'll give them another shot. The decor was pretty nice and the fresh squeezed orange juice hit the spot. I would have liked a beer or a mojito, but they don't have a liquor license.

Have you been? Any good dishes to recommend or avoid? Yelpers like it too, giving the place 4.5 stars out of 45 reviews.


  1. sorry you had a bad experience. i've been 3x all before the WaPo article. And everytime i left feeling sad that my belly was full which meant i couldn't eat more.

    Next time:
    1) get a glass of the fresh OJ.
    2) go with one of the steaks that are not breaded. Hopefully it will come to you better.

  2. I think I've been there for lunch almost every week since they've been open. I usually get the traditional pork with black beans and the yucca with garlic. Yes, service is usually fast, but my food has always been hot and very satisfying. I also enjoy the grilled chicken, and had good grilled fish. The Cafe BonBon is very good.


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