My fiancé and I went to Julie's Cuban for a date night. I had been driving past it frequently of late, and something about the twinkling lights and bright colours drew my imagination in enough to make this place a must go.
We arrived slightly late for our 6 pm reservation (reservations were recommended) but the place had just opened and there was plenty of room. They placed us in the front window, which is my recommendation for a table for two as it is super private and in the summer has the windows open. The bright palette used in the checkered tablecloths, plates and walls along with the Latin music and the amazing staff set the tone for the evening.
We started with drinks, I had the strawberry mango daiquiri and my fiancée had the house mojito. The drinks arrived quickly, and upon tasting them, we both agreed they were some of the best in the city. The daiquiri used fresh fruit and the mojito, as my fiancée so elegantly put it, "went down like the ones in Thailand". I read somewhere that the mint used is homegrown in a garden out back, and it shows in the flavour.
We started out ordering four tapas and a salad, most of which were recommended by the waitress. The salad was a special of the day, a concoction of palm hearts, lettuce, strawberries and a lemony vinaigrette. We both cleaned our plates. The tapas came within minutes of us ordering, and we were impressed by the presentation, the quality and the freshness. The chorizo was cooked in red wine, and was delicious, though slightly dry. I didn't mind, as I thought it was a nice alternative to how greasy some chorizo can be. The coconut shrimp was lightly coated in fresh coconut a d served with a cream sauce. I personally preferred the shrimp plain, without sauce, as the freshness of the ingredients didn't need more. The Plantano Especial, or plantains with Picadillo was a favourite of ours. As described accurately by the server, it was a meat banana split. The sweetness of the plantains matched the savoury ground beef perfectly. Lastly the Blue Marlin Ceviche was a delight, as the marlin was delicious. This dish was extremely spicy though!
After eating all of that meat we wanted to try the Potato Puff, so we ordered it as well. It was a deliciously crispy shell of potato fried golden brown with a Picadillo center.
For dessert, we ordered coffee, which is brought in from Cuba. I had an Anericano, he had the medium roast, and we ordered the Margarita key lime pie and the tres leches cake. We weren't prepared for the beautiful simplicity of the presentation, nor for the light decadence. The pie was done well with a crust that was perfect, not heavy at all. The filling was a blend of lime and tequila with whipped cream on top. The cake was bliss.
The check was reasonable, considering how much we ate, but the drinks will kill you as they are ten bucks a pop. In my opinion? Worth it for the quality. My fiancée had three mojitos and a corona and I just had the daiquiri. Total with tax and a VERY generous tip (35%, our server was fantastic) was $180, but of that food was only $60. Well worth the yum.
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