Sunday, October 3, 2010

90 Miles Cuban Cafe

Last Saturday, Josh, Noam, and I were sitting around my apartment trying to figure out what to do. My friend Amy then reminded my about Oktoberfest in Lakeview (interestingly enough it was in September). We figured it'd be fun to grab dinner somewhere nearby and then go grab a beer or two at the festival. We'd had some pretty expensive nights out recently, and it was a universal request to go somewhere a little cheaper. I'd had my eye on this little shack on Clybourn for a while, 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, and this was the opportune moment to go.

90 Miles is literally a stand alone shack near the intersection of Clybourn, Western, and Belmont. They have a little parking lot too. You order and can then eat at the counter or take it to go. It probably took close to ten minutes to get our food.

The employees were very nice and were willing to help us decipher the menu since none of us were pros on Cuban food. They also struck up a conversation with us about how they thought Josh looked like a less jacked version of Rex Grossman.

I thought it was really cheap. The very large dinner specials were $10, and sandwiches were closer to $6. Side dishes like Fried Yucca and Empanadas were around $2. So for $12 I had a ton of food.

The Food
They had a lot of interesting daily specials, but we all went for more of their standard dishes. Noam ordered the Cuban Hamburger, Josh got the Shredded Beef Dinner Special, and I had the Steak Dinner Special. For side dishes Josh and Noam both got Empanadas, beef and chorizo respectively, and I got Fried Yucca.

 The Cuban Burger

The Shredded Beef Dinner

The Steak Dinner

The Empanada

The Empanada (Interior View)

The Fried Yucca

Noam liked his burger a lot and said it packed an interesting mix of spices. The beef was juicy as well, but the highlight for him were the plantain chips that came with it. The dinner specials came with plantains as well but in a regular form with a nice crispy exterior. They were also served with a hefty portion of white rice and black beans. The shredded beef was spicy, savory, and came mixed with lots of peppers. The steak was juicy, huge, and loaded with garlic. I didn't mind though as the flavors seemed to meld together well. The empanadas had an unbelievably flaky crust and were loaded with filling. The Yucca was like a basket of french fries only a little more substantial. It was also loaded with garlic. I'd suggest eating it quickly since as it cooled down, the texture was a little starchy.

Clearly it doesn't take a fancy restaurant or a big kitchen to put out amazing Cuban flavors. I was blown away with how large the portions are for the money. One issue was that I felt like I was sweating out garlic all night long. Still, that's just the cost you pay sometimes for strong flavors, and I'd quickly do it again. I'm giving 90 Miles 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

90 Miles Cuban Café on Urbanspoon