David and I were off the week of Christmas, and one of the things we made sure to do is go to Salazar for lunch. Why? One word.
Now, we all know there are sandwiches, and then there are sandwiches. The standard chicken salad you can get at the deli around the corner, some sort of generic club. And then there’s the Cuban sandwich.
This is a sandwich that I’ve loved ever since I’ve first tried it, and while the combination is being done more often and can be found at various places around town (Nicholson’s, Pete’s Cuban truck, Paula’s Café) they just aren’t the same.
I know some of you will say that you can find them all over the place in Miami, and that the ones there are the best.I’m sure they’re great.
But guess what, we’re not in Miami, as evidenced by the fact it is negative-three-insert-expletive-degrees outside, and I’m telling you Salazar makes the best Cuban you can find around here.
Like The Gibson, this sandwich is hard to hack. Many have tried, but only Jose (in Cincinnati, anyway) has actually managed to figure it out.
Fact: Jose’s original nickname in the kitchen was Zero Cool
Photo Credit: Don Ventre
So, on to the sandwich. Similar to the one on the menu at the Cincinnatian (where Jose used to head up the kitchen), it contains mojo marinated and slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and pickles. The pickles and mustard are important and often skipped.
Ideally, this shouldn’t happen. We once overheard a Cricket bar and lounge patron asking for the sandwich without pickles. The response was a succinct “No.” Yeah, if you believe a Cuban sandwich would be good minus the pickle, then you probably also believe there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool on the roof.
Spoiler alert: There's no swimming pool on the roof and your Cuban is not better without pickles
When I asked him what made a good Cuban sandwich so hard, Jose explained that the components in the sandwich have to all work together, and you have to start with quality ingredients. “Good bread is important…take the time to marinate and slow roast the pork. Crisp the bread and get the cheese melted without burning the sandwich.” He explained.
I could go on about the cubano for quite awhile, but we ordered other things at lunch as well. Like the turkey sandwich, with thick, juicy pieces of turkey on amazing Blue Oven "Bad Boy" bread, with melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and just a little green olive tapenade.
Dat bread tho
The special soup of the day, a nearly impossibly creamy potato with bacon, was great for a cold day.
Of course we had to get the brussel sprouts, caramelized and served with yuzu emulsion, and the little fried oyster sandwich, which I doubt Jose will ever be able to take off the menu.
The cubano is only available during lunch, but should remain on the menu for quite some time, which makes me exceedingly happy.
One last note: Salazar doesn’t take reservations normally, but they will be doing a prix fixe Valentine’s day dinner that you can reserve a spot for.
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