Remember that popular Wendy's commercial where the innocent looking grandmother would spout, "Where's the beef?" Well, substitute the word "beef" with "flavor" and that's the question I asked myself after a meal at Cuban Bistro one evening with my niece. Granted, I didn't go in with high expectations in the first place. I've never read glowing reviews about this restaurant before and although my niece, who wanted to go to Cuban Bistro, said the food was really good, let's just say that our culinary tastes are very different. However, I always keep an open mind so off we went.
Our meal started with complimentary buttered toasted bread. A nice little starter and a welcome change from just getting rolls. Then the first of the two appetizers I ordered arrived and it was the potato balls stuffed with ground beef. The ground beef could have used a bit more seasoning and the potatoes could have been a bit fluffier, but still not bad. Next were the chicken empanadas, which seemed a bit heavy to me. The chicken filling was okay, but I would have liked the empanada to be a little lighter and flakier.
Now it's time for the two mains. Ropa Vieja for me and Garlic Half Chicken for my niece. Texturally, I enjoy ropa vieja because I like the chewiness of the meat and in that, this dish delivered, which is about the only good thing I can say. When it came to flavor, I got close to zilch. It felt like the whole dish was just cooked in a tomato broth. I did add some salt, lots of pepper, but neither really enhanced my meal.
Curious, I sampled a little bit of the Garlic Half Chicken and while my niece was enjoying her meal, I couldn't for the life of me understand why. Just looking at her dish, I was expecting to see some garlic cloves, but there was none. I was expecting to taste garlic in the marinade that this chicken may have been soaking in earlier, but my tastebuds went away disappointed.
With appetizers that were just okay and entrees that were beyond disappointing, I didn't even want to try any of the desserts although some of them looked appealing just because I didn't want to deal with a triple strike.
Overall, the answer to "Where's the flavor?" is definitely not to be found at Cuban Bistro.
To see pics, go to:
28 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801