When I’m in the mood for Cuban food, Polo Norte is one of the places I’m bound to go to. Although there are a couple of other restaurants that I prefer for this type of cuisine, this place provides a good representation of what an experience at a Cuban restaurant should be. The ambiance is very homey, the service is most likely going to be given by Spanish-speaking servers, and the food is plentiful, rib-sticking, and extremely satisfying.
My favorite thing on the menu is the Croqueta Preparada sandwich (which I’ll talk about on another day), but on this particular visit I was more in the mood for a home-style meal. This time around, I chose the Milanesa de Pollo. This dish is composed of a breaded chicken breast topped with marinara sauce, ham, and cheese. The chicken itself is perfectly seasoned and the breading stays crunchy even though there is marinara sauce topping it. The sauce is applied sparingly and the sweetness coming from it is a nice change of pace coming from the saltiness of the ham and chewy texture of the cheese. The cheese itself is not the most flavorful, but it sort of acts as a glue that keeps all the ingredients together. It is a wonderful dish that is only made better by the serving size. All entrees come with two sides, and I chose moros (rice and beans) and yucca with mojo (cassava with marinade). The moros tasted heavy of bay leaf and cumin with a richness coming from pork fat. The yucca could have been better, as I found them to be boiled to a point of having an extremely mushy texture.
I also had the chance to taste a half ham and pineapple/half Italian sausage and pineapple Cuban pizza. I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Cuban pizza, as I always find it to be extremely bready, but Polo Norte makes the best one that I have tried. Sadly, on this particular visit, my experience with the pizza was not as good as previous times. I do not think that the pizza was baked long enough, as the crust tasted more like soft bread than pizza crust and the toppings were applied too generously (if that’s even possible). There was too much sauce, which is very good when used in the right amount. Because so much was used this time, the pizza tasted way too sweet and made it a bit hard to enjoy the other toppings. On top of that, the person preparing the pizza placed way too much ham on it. I have never seen so much ham on a pizza. I know for a fact that this pizza would have been more enjoyable if it was more proportional in toppings because I have had it prepared correctly before, but if there were my only experience with this particular dish, I would not suggest it.
For dessert, I got the Molten Chocolate cake with a scoop of Coconut Almond Ice Cream and topped with cookie crumbs. This version of the classic dessert was just as good as you would expect. The star of the dessert was the ice cream, as there were pieces of slivered almond found throughout it. This texture, plus the taste and creaminess of the coconut found in the ice cream base provided a nice change of pace to the warm and rich ice cream.
Polo Norte is a very affordable restaurant where you feel as though you’re eating in a Cuban grandmother’s kitchen. Although, there can be some problems with consistency on certain dishes, there are others that have been executed well every time I have gone. Like I mentioned previously, this is a restaurant I visit on a regular basis, so I have no problems with suggesting it.
1200 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL
By Food Blogger, Santiago Cardona