I dug the bread, though it remains some distance from either accepted Cuban form (the shorter Miami style or the Tampa style). It is more like the long D'Amato loaf, which I have always thought is among Chicago's best substitutes. Better for sure than the Gonella bread used at the other Cuban cafeterias in town. Based on the bread, but also the apparent use of real butter as opposed to margarine, I also give the edge to El Cubanito on pan con mantequilla (really, the only competition is Marianao, which is good too; La unica won't make it for some odd reason).
They were out of lechon, and thus out of Cubans by 3 pm on Saturday. So, we tried the ropa vieja and the bistek. I thought both were quite good, and I liked the attention to detail on the steak, including good romaine, real cheese, and nice mojo criollo flavor.
Made it down here for lunch a few days ago. Had the steak-san, which was
a good solid sandwich IMHO, and the pan-con-timba which was very good
too. And then was unfortunately too stuffed to try anything else (also, had taken
it to go and wasnt at the location anymore
Iam far from being a Cuban-sandwich expert, so here's my question... Ive tried
the pressed Cubanos before a couple times from Unica etc. They were ok, but
I wasnt a huge fan, I thought they were slightly dryish as some have said, and
the pressed-bread didnt really blow me away. Which is why I went with the steak-san
at Cubanito (and, and I said, I liked it). However... the pan-con-timba *had*
pressed bread (presumbaly) with cheese (and guava), and it was *great*! The
outer-layer-bread-plus-cheese was terrific, much much better than any Ive
had before (and I thought at the time that it would be great with meat too).
Soo... after all that, my question
... is the Cubano at Cubanita pretty much
the same as the pan-con-timba, bread-n-cheese-wise, with only meat replacing
the guava? Or is the pan-con-timba a whole different animal, outer-layer-wise, to
the Cubano here? If *this* is indeed the outer-layer for the Cubano, then I must
hurry back and try the Cubano here pronto, cos it was nothing at all like the
outer-layer of any actual Cubano Ive had before in Chicago, and I think it
would make for a pretty brilliant sandwich even given my tastes
Even otherwise, however, the steak-san was a good sandwich, IMHO - just
not a revelatory one to me (the bar for "revelatory" being set very high, at
the Salamera-level). But if you could put that same steak-n-cheese-n-seasonings
(or maybe even lechon) in the pan-con-timba filling... now *that* might indeed be
revelatory, IMHO. (It would also, of course, probably be completely inauthentic?