Hawaii is blessed to have such a diverse cultural scene. This leads to a unique food scene as well. When people talk about the major food cultures of America, they include New York, Northwest (Portland and Seattle), San Francisco, New Orleans, and I include Hawaii. Hawaii is grouped with the northwest for things like the James Beard awards, however I disagree. Having lived in both Washington and Hawaii, I see a difference. Hawaii blends many types of foods, but still keeps them distinguishable.
But of all the types of food in Hawaii, I never expected to find Cuban. Sure Cuba’s half-way across the world but I didn’t really think there was a market for Cuban food before. Until I found Soul de Cuba Cafe in the downtown area.
I went to check it out expecting a spanish/south american/african fusion type menu. I was shown just that and it was great. I started out with an el presidente (above). Mixed drinks aren’t my cup of tea, but it looked good enough: rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and lime juice. For appetizers, we had two of their empanadas, one chicken and one beef. It came with a spicy, creamy sauce that went excellent with the crispy skin.
I had the pollo soule de cuba, their signature dish. I figured when going to a new place, the signature selection must be good; and it was. Sweet mango salsa over crispy chicken breast. All over white rice, black beans, and plantains. I don’t normally order chicken at a restaurant, but it was calling my name. I think I was sold on the salsa.
My girlfriend had a shrimp pasta which isn’t on the internet menu (as are the empanadas). It had a peppery kick to the sauce which was nice. With big portions, dessert wasn’t necessary. Although if you go, save room because they have about 6 or 7 desserts that look great including flan, pastel and others.
If you’re wandering down Bethel St one night, stop into Soul de Cuba Cafe. It’s a small joint with a casual atmosphere. You won’t be disappointed.
*next up…triple whammy grilled cheese…*
Filed under: their grindz |