Living in Miami and not partaking in the consumption of Cuban food is akin to living in New England and not eating lobster rolls, or living in New York and not eating pizza, or even living in Memphis and not enjoying BBQ. The truth is that if this is the case, no one is going to hate you for it, but don’t feel awkward when you start getting stares. I wouldn’t necessarily call Cuban food the most important cuisine in our city since I try to find value in all types of food, but there can be an argument made that there are more Cuban restaurants in this city than from any other nationality. I understand that numbers alone don’t mean we have the best fare, but I have tried Cuban food from other cities claiming they have the best and it just does not compare.
Cuban Guys came into the South Floridian culinary scene as a restaurant that attempted to make Cuban food fast. Some people may confuse this with the idea of a fast food restaurant, but the owners of this place try to emphasize the difference between Cuban fast food and Cuban food served fast. After trying most of their menu, I can confirm that there is so much thought and effort put into every single dish that it would be unfair to call this place fast food.
This restaurant specializes in all sorts of Cuban sandwiches, but there are a few that I would recommend over others. Let’s begin with what they specialize in; the Frita. Originally sold as street food, a Frita can be considered a Cuban hamburger made from a pork patty that is seasoned with paprika, onion, garlic, and other spices. They are usually cooked on a flattop, which produces a great crust, and then placed on a Cuban roll. The usual toppings include diced onions, ketchup, and julienne potatoes. Although the sandwich may seem simple, the difference between a well thought-out Frita and one that is haphazardly thrown together is very apparent. Cuban Guys tries to serve Fritas that they are proud of, and by putting so much attention and care into every step they are serving some of the best iterations of the sandwich in the city. The seasonings and the patty compliment each other in a way that is reminiscent of the best Cuban meat you can possibly find, and the spiciness from the pork patty blends with the spices so that they combine into flavor euphoria. The julienne potatoes are fresh-cut and most of the time fried to order, and this step is essential to a good frita. It adds crunchiness and depth to an already satisfying sandwich by creating a change in textures and flavors. Lastly, the onions are used to cut back from the richness of the other toppings and add a bite that is a refreshing change of pace.
I’m not typically one to order Pan con Bistec (Steak sandwich), but this sandwich had so much hype behind it that I just had to try it. Unlike what is usually the case with hyped up dishes, this sandwich actually delivered. The same is true about the Pan con Bistec as the Frita, since it has that unmistakable flattop crust, the same julienned potatoes, and refreshing onions on top of the Cuban roll. The only change is the meat used, but this steak is seasoned so well that you feel like you are having a completely different experience. This restaurant is executing its sandwiches very well, and if I were to ever crave a Pan con Bistec, I know where to go.
Please don’t leave Cuban Guys without trying their flan. My personal favorite is the Cappuccino flan, which makes you think that you are eating a custardy version of a Cuban cafecito. The coffee flavor and caramel from the flan play a game of balance to make sure that the dessert is not too overbearingly sweet (which is usually the case with flan). The flavor from the espresso is definitely present and is a welcomed change from your typical Hispanic dessert. The texture from the custard is firm to the point that it gives resistance to your spoon but not enough where you have to struggle to get a piece.
Prices are Cuban Guys are more or on the small side, almost to the point where I would call them a cheap restaurant. This plus the incredible food lead to some of the best values that you can find in the city. The service has always been gracious and the atmosphere is very Cuban, and I mean this in a good way. I really appreciate what Cuban Guys is doing for Cuban cuisine in South Florida. If only I lived closer so I could get their flan on a more constant basis…
Cuban Guys Restaurant
(786) 464 0744
10801 Sunset Dr.
Miami, FL 33173
By Santiago Cardona