I don't usually do restaurant reviews, but I wanted to make an exception and give a very very special shout-out with this post.
Dos Cubanos, in Paramus, NJ, is the largest Cuban restaurant in Bergen County. You may have seen their recent Groupon for a bottle of wine, appetizer, and two entrees for $40.
The Manfriend and I did, and were able to celebrate a very special anniversary at Dos Cubanos, thanks to the incredible and incomparable hospitality of the manager, George.
For those unfamiliar with Cuban cuisine, Cuban fare is a fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean flavors. The result Most of the dishes involve sauteing ingredients or stewing them over a long period of time. Frying is not common and there are very few heavy sauces -- which make it a relatively healthy choice. Common spices include garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Cuban cooking often involves a "sofrito"-- a quick saute of onion, pepper, garlic, oregano and ground pepper to infuse a base flavor into dishes. The food is not overly spicy, but intensely flavorful overall.
For an appetizer, the Manfriend and I chose Chorizo con Sofrito, a spicy Cuban sausage with sauteed peppers and onions in a fire roasted tomato sauce. I'm a big fan of chorizo, and the fire roasted tomato sauce was so delicious. We were actually fighting forks over the last bite -- right in the middle of the restaurant. The one negative would be that the appetizer didn't come with any bread to scoop up the last of the sauce.
For his entree, the Manfriend ordered Ropa Vieja, twice cooked tender shredded flank steak with Cuban Criollo sauce. I tried it, and it was unbelievably tender. My entree was Bistec a la Plancha, thinly pounded steak that had been marinated in lime and garlic. The combination of the lime and garlic truly brought out a note of freshness that I really hadn't anticipated, or tasted before in beef dishes. Truly a winner.
I recommend Dos Cubanos to all my NJ readers. The food is flavorful, the waitstaff is attentive and the decor is festive. Just make sure you make a reservation -- the place was packed, another mark of an incredible spot.
Thanks again to George for making it quite an evening!