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“Great new addition”

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The Cuban Crocodile
Ranked #83 of 124 Restaurants in Long Beach
Cuisines: Cuban
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed July 12, 2012

There are far too few great restaurants in Long Beach. This is a nice addition. The food was very good, very tasty and the decor was nice.

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Thank Jillnt6772
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 - 14 of 23 reviews

Reviewed June 24, 2012

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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1  Thank Jessica R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2012

My girlfriend took me to this place as part of her birthday gift to me on Friday, the 15ht of June. I am a Cuban-American, born in NYC, and was looking forward to trying out this place. I live in Nassau, and I love Long Beach, so I was hoping to make this a regular place for us.

Getting the seating for us and another couple was no problem. I want to begin by saying how really courteous the staff was. They were young, and very polite and ebullient. The sound level in this place was off the meter. It was really loud, requiring us to literally shout at each other to be heard, and upon leaving I had gotten a headache. Then again it was Saturday night, so I can't imagine it being this way every evening.

The ham croquetas were, well, for lack of a better term...gross. My vocabulary is not limited so much so that I couldn't find another word to describe it, it's just the gross fits best, and I'm not trying to be mean here. We placed an order for two, but after I took a bite from one right away cancelled the second order. Croquestas are supposed to be pinkish on the inside with an almost fluffy texture that tends to melt in ones mouth. What we were served was dark grey, and a very thick texture which required me to chew through it at least 12 times to swallow. The taste was not even close to what a croqueta should be, so I immediately told everyone in the group not to eat it and to not even attempt so. My girlfriend has had them with me, but the other couple never had, and I didn't want their first impression to be completely skewed.

I need to next speak about the experience I had with Ropa Vieja. Horrible. I knew it form the smell when it was placed in front of me. It had a steamed god-awful scent. I gave it the benefit of the doubt by tasting it but the flavor was the same from the steamy, non ropa vieja-ish taste. Again, not even close to what a traditional plate of RV is supposed to be. From my grandmother, to my mother and to Cuban eateries I've been to more than once such as Asia De Cuba, Victors Cafe in Manhattan to Gloria Estefan's Madres' in Miami and even the Rey De Las Fritas franchise in Little Havana MIA....the formula is a simple one, for God's sake it's a home-brewed country dish how can the Croc get it this wrong? It tasted like microwave-shredded beef with a low grade marinara-ish sauce.

What they did get right was the white rice and black beans; it's the only thing I ate from my dish. The waiter noticed I had not eaten, and asked me if everything was alright. I had recently had surgery in my throat to remove a few nodules, so speaking was difficult for me. I did whisper to him only after he insisted on knowing that I did not like the dish. He was then kind enough to remove it from the bill. For his instinctive and awareness to the needs of a customer, I give him a ton of Kudos.

The evening took an interesting turn when an older short-haired blonde woman who appeared to be a manager approached our table. She was walking towards us after she appeared to be receiving accolades from other patrons, and appeared very jovial while receiving thank you after thank you from them. She asked me if everything was alright. I then attempted to speak to her but my throat seized a bit with a twinge of pain, so I facially looked at her and nodded with a so-so kind of look. It took her all of half a second to discard my meaning and immediately turned to another member of our party and said: "well he's not going to tell me so I'll just ask you, how is everything"? I guess since I didn't give her thumbs up fast enough I didn't matter and what she did to me was beyond rude. She went and got her approval from someone else in my group, making me out to be some kind of chump. If she's so sure of how great this restaurant is, why does she need to ask the patrons? Perhaps if she were more open to some constructive criticism, then some positive changes could be made to the menu. I only regret not being able to speak at the moment she came by. Not because I was going to fire off a rant, but because I was ready to congratulate her for opening a Cuban place closer to me followed by a well-mannered opinion on my entree.

So my hopes for s decent Cuban food eatery were dashed. I was willing to give this place another try, thinking that it may have just been a bad night, but I don't think I will, and that's because of the way I was treated. Then again, I am only one person, and perhaps I am biased because I have been to Cuban places that have had some absolutely great tasting dishes. What I will do to get a better idea is ask the various members of the groups I belong to (NYC Cuban Culture Meetup, Untied Latino Professionals, and the Cuban Artists Fund) to quietly go ahead and give it a try. Apart from the various projects, topics and Cuban-related issues we discuss, food always seems to be on our top three...LOL.

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2  Thank ArtG123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2012 via mobile

I would make all the efforts to have live music ! Invest to make more money, it will pay off!

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Thank Mariapiabayas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2012

Fun night with friends..the mojito's were excellent , appetizers, service and food all good. The steak was a bit tough, however, it has now been taken off the menu and replaced with skirt steak which I feel will be a better choice. They are also adding additional appetizers to the menu. Restaurant was attractive and clean, which is always important. will be back

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Thank karinlab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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