In all honesty, I am not Cuban, but my boyfriend is. So in that respect, we are always in search of a good Cuban restaurant. Living on Long Island, we always have to travel to get to one, be it Queens, the city, even Jersey, and we have traveled to Miami a number of times to get a taste of Cuban food. I've been to enough restaurants to have a good frame of reference as to what good Cuban food is and should taste like.
So after finding out about this restaurant on Long Beach, and then reading the NYTimes review of the Cuban Crocodile, I was so excited to take my boyfriend there for his birthday. I couldn't have made a worse decision bringing a Cuban to this restaurant. This was by far the worse Cuban restaurant I had ever been to. The only good things about this restaurant were the manager, our waitress, and the mariquitas.
The decor of the restaurant is nice. The place itself is quite small, but that didn't really bother me. What did was how the acoustics in the restaurant weren't so great, so it just sounded like everyone around you was at your table talking all at once. The music was hardly heard.
The atmosphere would have been okay, but then we got the croquetas. Why were they chewy and tough to bite into? And maybe it was the lighting, but why when I finally did cut through it, the inside of it looked like it was made of some black paste.
I ordered the Pernil Asado, it was more like a flavorless, cut up pork chop with some pieces of crispy fried skin. My boyfriend ordered, ropa vieja, which looked and tasted like shredded pieces of beef drenched in marinara sauce.
To top our unsatisfying dinner off, after bypassing our table at least 3/4 times, to go to everyone else around us, Marivi the owner finally comes to us. She asks us how we are doing. My boyfriend and I were cordial, but not really responsive because we were so disappointed in our meals. But instead of asking what was wrong, she said "Fine, then I'll just talk to them!" (the couple we were with) laughs it off and turns her back to us to address only our friends. Clearly we were not joking with her. Then she walked off.
So needless to say, the food, coupled with Marivi's lack of graciousness toward us, I most certainly will not be dining there again. I very rarely write reviews, but I have never been so disappointed in a dining experience.
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