Long before Douglas Rodriguez blew into town with a young chef named Jose Garces under his tutelage, Cuba Libre chef Guillermo Pernot, one of Food & Wine’s ‘Best New Chefs’ in 1998, brought Philly its first tastes of Nuevo Latino at Manayunk’s once celebrated, but now long-gone Vega Grill and later at dearly departed ¡Pasión!. For the past five years he’s led Cuba Libre kitchens here in Philly, Atlantic City and Florida and Washington D.C. This week Pernot has been previewing a new menu at Cuba Libre’s Old City flagship, offering it up to customers for 50 percent off. The menu makeover is the result of extended field trips the chef made to Cuba in recent months.
While there, he visited dozens of “paladares,” the off-beat and under the radar pop-up-like restaurants tha Cuban chefs are opening in their homes to showcase a more modern approach to the island nation’s traditional cuisine.
Jokingly, Pernot says this week’s half-off discount is an apology for any glitches that may occur as the new menu is integrated. Tomorrow and through next week that price cut will be scaled back to 25 percent off. Check out the slideshow we put together of dishes from Cuba Libre’s revamped menu.