Ball and Chain restaurant is not the typical Cuban restaurant. On the Little Havana Food Tour, we stop at this establishment for some contemporary Cuban cuisine. The door stays open to reveal the entire restaurant, giving it the feel of being outside in a patio. There are ceiling fans to aid the tropical breeze that naturally comes and goes. The wooden chairs look like antiques. There is an old world feel to the elaborate décor, much like one would find in Cuba where the shiny and new things of the ‘60s have been perpetually repaired, reused, and recycled since the embargo. The tour is seated along the wall where a gold-framed mirror hangs above a chestnut colored piano.
When the Cuban rolls arrive, they are too hot to touch. Each is cut diagonally to display the rolled ham, pork, swiss cheese, and pickle nestled inside. This is an innovative twist on the Cuban sandwich, which contains all of these ingredients. The only difference is the substitution of flaky and buttered Cuban bread for a crunchy egg-based wrap. But no Cuban sandwich is complete without mustard. Ball and Chain’s mustard based aioli dip completes this beautiful roll. The exterior is crispy and the swiss is gooey and melted. Biting into this fried reinvention of the traditional Cuban sandwich is delightful.