Friday, November 23, 2007

6.Cuba: Julie's Cuban Restaurant

Julie's Cuban
202 Dovercourt Rd
(east of Dufferin, between Dundas and Argyle)
416 532 7397
Reservations recommended.

Ideal restaurant service is friendly, fast and efficient and not condescending or "in your face". The service we received at Julie's Cuban Restaurant came very close to that ideal. The ambiance on a freezing Friday night was enchanting. Picture a retro snack bar in a downtown residential neighbourhood that's been preserved and jazzed up, Cuban style. However, we got an icy blast every time customers did not close the entrance door firmly behind them - this needs fixing.
After starting with a traditional soup - Potaje de Frijoles Negros (Black Bean) that was thick and tasty, I chose two veggie options from the tapas menu: the Tostones Rellenos - green plantain cups stuffed with a creamy avocado and onion mixture (pictured here) was exceptionally good both in presentation and taste; and Yuca con Mojo which was nicely cooked if a little bland. Yuca, known variously as manioc and cassava, is a starchy root vegetable and a staple food in the tropics. It is also what tapioca and the "bubbles" in bubble tea are made of. In Cuban cuisine, mojo is sauce made with garlic, olive oil and a citrus juice, frequently lime.
The tapas menu and entrees are good value for money. The Camarones al ajillo (garlic prawns), $7.25, were very good and Pollo con Platano Maduro (chicken breast stuffed with plantain), $16.95, was a huge portion if a little bland. We found the wine list (no house wine, cheapest bottle $33) and the peppermint tea at $3.50 a cup to be pricey. The Key Lime Pie was heavenly. Total cost incl tax for three persons $111.89 plus tip.

Ambiance (4)
Service (3)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (3)

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