Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sumptuous Cuban Food at Miami's David's Cafe II

Hi everybody! This is my third restaurant review for Wine Tasters. This time I’m at David’s Cafe II located in Miami Beach about a mile from where we were staying. David’s Café II has been open since 1977 and is open 24/7. A friend of mine highly recommended this fine Cuban restaurant so we thought we would give it a shot. We were filled with anticipation and hoped it would stand up to its reputation.

We arrived at David’s Cafe around 9 PM on a Wednesday in late August. The awning is turquoise and the outside walls are white. I could see that the locals eat here so I was assuming the place might be good. I got a Miami vibe when I stepped into the restaurant itself. I saw cops eating as well as Cubans. As soon as I walked in I could smell the butter and toasted bread. My hunger started to rise immediately because of the awesome aromas. There is both a café and restaurant sections.

The picture above is of the café (courtesy Johnny N.). The café has a diner feel to it except that the restaurant is Cuban, not Greek. The hostess brought us to the restaurant area. There weren't many people eating there at 9. I guess we were a little late by Miami standards. One thing that I noticed in Miami is that the air conditioners are always blasting cool air because the humidity is so high. The restaurant area has a nice brown décor. There were pictures of many famous people, especially Cuban stars.
Here is our order with estimated prices:

Appetizer: Masas de Puerco Frito (Marinated Pork Chunks) - $8 (estimated)
Dinner: Ropo Vieja Habanera (steak Cuban style topped with sautéed onions and lemon garlic sauce) $15.95, Bistec de Palomilla (shredded flank steak in sauce) $16.25 (estimate)

Total Bill: $47 w/tip (estimate)


We were first served pressed Cuban bread. The texture was similar to Italian bread except the crust was smoother and thinner. The bread was soaked in butter. The taste and texture of the bread was amazing. Very fattening but I was on vacation so it’s all good.
Masitas de Puerco (marinated fried pork chunks)

This appetizer is fried pork chunks with onion and cheese. The thought of frying pork was salivating. The pork was a tad overdone but was very tasty. It was definitely marinated in something, not sure what. The onions and the cheese made a great combination with the pork. I never had fried pork prepared this way before. I have pork chops on occasion with onion and on the bbq. The juices of the pork squirted out when I bit into it. And of course I used the bread to soak up the pork juice that was left on the plate. For $8 the dish was worth it.
Bisteca de Palomilla (grilled steak Cuban style topped with sautéed onions and lemon garlic sauce)

The steak was pounded very thin. The onions resided on top of the steak and with a side order of mashed potatoes. The lemon garlic sauce was smothering the steak. The meat absorbed a lot of the sauce which made the steak extra tasty! When I cut a piece of the steak, I made sure to absorb more of the delicious lemon garlic sauce. The steak was hot, grilled to a perfect texture and not burnt. The meat was not chewy. As a matter of fact, it was very easy to eat. The combination of the lemon garlic sauce and onions really enhanced the flavor of the steak. I enjoyed this steak a bunch!!!
Ropa Vieja Habanera(shredded flank steak in sauce)

My wife Angela loved her meal:
"I decided to go with the Ropa Vieja at David's Cafe. Now, I have had Ropa Vieja before in two other Cuban places in New York. I thought those were good, but looking back they were only mediocre. When I tasted David's version of this classic Cuban dish, I was blown away. The beef was unbelievably tender and juicy from the great sauce in which it was cooked. It had infused itself with the sauce containing flavors of peppers and onions. The beef melted in my mouth, it was unbelievable. It had come with rice and black beans, that were tasty, basic sides. I saved the plantains as a little dessert for after my incredible meal. They were cooked just right, candied and juicy, not dry at all. The meal was delectable, and perfectly cooked."

If you are in Miami and want very good Cuban food, you must try David’s Café (one or two). If I had more time to spend in Miami I would be there often. The food hits the spot and for the price the quantities served are just right.

Scale 1-10 (1 is gross and 10 is stupendous)

Location: 8
Décor: 8
Food: 9.5
Service: 8
Price: 9
Overall: 8.5

David's Cafe
1654 Meridian Avenue, Miami Beach, FL‎ 33139 (305) 672-8707
Hours: 24/7

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