“My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita” – Ernest Hemingway
It is indeed possible for limited-chain restaurants to step out into the spotlight and showcase really great drinks and food. Cuba Libre is proof. The Cuban restaurant and rum bar, which also has locations in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, can be found in the city’s revitalized Chinatown neighborhood and is a great destination for dinner and happy hour. It also features Djs and dancing on the weekends. On a particularly dreary day, my bestie and I stopped by, just prior to the happy hour crowd’s arrivals, and savored a number of tapas plates, all of which were generous and extremely well-priced :
― Bay scallop ceviche / shrimp ceviche
― Churrasco steak slider
― Grilled baby octopus, served with Haitian eggplant salad
― Mamá Amelia’s empanadas, a combination of mozzarella, tetilla, Monterey Jack cheeses, sweet roasted onions, and Aji-sour cream dipping sauce
― Pineapple guacamole Cubano, a dish so delicious we ordered a couple of them
― Yuca fries, crispy and accompanied by Cilantro-caper allioli
We also enjoyed the restaurant’s signature grilled pineapple mojitos (which I highly recommend) and red wine. It wasn’t long before the place became packed. The noise level, however, did not become intolerable and I’m looking forward to rounding up even more friends and returning.
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