Scanning The Menu: Cuban Sandwiches

With the christening of MenuPages! South Florida!, it’s only appropriate that we dedicate this week’s edition of Scanning the Menu to the wonderful sandwich that is the Cuban sandwich. Also known as a cubano, the Cuban sandwich is allegedly Florida’s favorite snack. Though the actual constitution of a Cuban may vary slightly, it usually involves ham, roast pork, cheese and pickles. Traditionalists insist on using Cuban bread, but the key lies in the grilling of the sandwich in the plancha. Once the meat and cheese warm in their own steam and the bread (Cuban bread) has crisped to a nice texture, culinary delight abounds.

Here in San Francisco, we’ve only got a handful of proper Cuban restaurants, but recently, some-non Cuban restaurants have put the cuisine’s finest sandwich on their menus. Some picks after the jump … and as always, suggestions are welcome.

Acme Chophouse ($11): For a great snack before or after a ballgame, sneak into Acme, sit at the bar and order the cubano on the bar menu. It’s a great alternative to the pricey–albeit delicious–steaks. Toasted cheese, smoked ham and roast pork are the items on the menu, so there are no pickles (we think), but you can be sure that the meat and cheese are high grade ingredients.

Luna Park ($10.25): Everyone’s favorite eclectic eatery has a whole section of “flatwiches” on the menu, from way back when grilled sandwiches (“panini” … as Italians cringe) were an unknown commodity. Luna Park’s version of the Cuban sandwich comes with pickled chilies, gruyere cheese and aioli.

Mojito ($6): Served room temperature and coming cheap, Mojito’s Cuban is traditional and simple.

Cafe Lo Cubano ($7.50): CLC is a Cuban coffeshop with a plethora of Cuban sandwiches. The Medadia features pulled pork, Black Forest ham, jack cheese and homemade cilantro aioli, but we’d have to insist on the Cuban Elvis: peanut butter, honey and plantains.

Birley Sandwiches ($5.50-$7.50): Yeah, it’s not traditional. Yeah, it’s in the middle of the FiDi. Yeah, they put tomatoes in it. But it’s still quite good and convenient.

[Photo courtesy: Roadfood]

Scanning The Menu: Cuban Sandwiches