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Dinner @ Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia



Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia

Alma de Cuba has such an ordinary look to it from the outside. One would never have imagined how caliente this place is. The first floor is the lounge area and the second floor is the dinning space. Feel free to have dinner on the first floor and soak up that sexy vibe specially during happy hour.
To start, I picked a Black Cherry Caipirinha made with cachaca, a liquor made from sugar cane. It’s not as smooth as I’m used to so I didn’t order another. In hindsight, I wished I ordered a mojito.
I was intrigued by the small plates because they are not typical offerings at a Cuban restaurant. My picks were the Royal Palm Dates and the Oysters Rodriguez.
They were good but my suggestions are: (1) Royal Palm Dates, nix the endive. The mix didn’t work for me. If I wanted crunch, I’d order the tuna tacos. The dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon were already perfect, why mess with it. I understand the thoughtfulness of wanting to have a method for eating the dates. A toothpick, perhaps? And, you can’t eat the entire endive in one bite. But the dates will most probably be munched on that first bite. What do you do with that dateless endive half? (2) Oyster Rodriguez are made with crispy blue points sitting on top of creamed spinach. I loved the fried oysters, again, why mess with perfection. You don’t really need the spinach. And, it’s served on an asian soup spoon but the serving size is not amuse bouche size. You eventually end up eating the oysters with a fork then eat the spinach after, if at all. Crispy and cream don’t really mix unless it’s a donut.
Then, I couldn’t resist, I had to order the lechon asado. Was it worth it? No. It looks pretty, crispy on the outside. It was so sad. I wanted to love the dish. The pork was just not marinaded long enough to absorb some acidity. And, it wasn’t tender. I might be asking too much but if the dish is approx $25. I expect it to be cooked well.
Would I come back? For drinks, it’s a good place to meet up before dinner. The restaurant is centrally located. However, have dinner somewhere else.
Top to Bottom: (1) Royal Palm Dates. (2) Oyster Rodriguez. (3) Lechon Asado.
Photos taken using an iPhone 4.

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