This is my first Cuban experience and I welcomed it with open arms. Versailles Cuban Restaurant located in Culver City with three other locations in Los Angeles, Encino, and Manhattan Beach.
Now, whenever I am in a new restaurant I always like to ask the server what the most popular dish on the menu is. Being someone who waitressed through high school and college, I have learned that servers know best and tell it how it is. If they pause or delay, or offer another suggestion, kindly listen. Naturally, when the recommendation came out with full force to order the garlic chicken, I eagerly obliged placing the order. As I took a sip of my Pacifico beer, I wondered why this garlic chicken was so notorious?
But then the unexpected happened, a beautiful basket of home made garlic bread landed on the table in front of me. It reminded me of the kind I had as a little kid that came in the silver foil. It was soft, and buttery with a smooth garlic taste (no chunks of garlic). Each bite was a taste of my childhood, and my theory is, if the bread is good, the rest that follows will be delicious! I’ve judged many a restaurant solely on their bread. If they don’t care about the small things which make up the complete dining experience, you are usually in for a rather lackluster meal.
Shortly after my pleasant surprise, the star entree arrived. A massive chicken overflowing with onions, plantains and a side of black beans with rice.
The plantains were sweet, soft, and caramelized, just how I love them. As for the chicken, it was spot on. It had a unique blend of flavors, lime, onion, and garlic. It was so flavorful, yet refreshingly different. I admired that kick of lime at the end of each bite, adding an extra, hmmmm, what was that?
I then remembered Rachel Ray’s fabulous recipe, Cuban Sloppy Joes, a twist on the American version she made on 30 minute meals. This became one of my favorite dishes that was SO easy and tasty. The seasoning in her recipe was very similar to this, adding lime juice in a garlic mojo sauce. I guess that is the trick to making a dish Cuban style.
Everything on my plate was absolutely delightful~ a masterful chicken on the bone that was enough to feed two. This was not only a great place with fast service, but it inspired me to try and recreate this chicken dish all on my own.
Two thumbs up for Cuban food 🙂
- Machuca de Plantano (Mashed Plantains) (cookingwithspanky.net)