Photo of El Cubo de Cuba courtesy Avila/EPDX
WWeek's visit to SE Hawthorne's cart-to-mortar Cuban spot El Cubo de Cuba begins with a long metaphor about the importance of ambiance. Unlike the Cuban restaurants in Miami — where the room is "marred by the unshakable sense that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were somewhere in the building" — Portland's El Cubo is " warm and inviting," "the sort of place where you relish the chance to sip wee cups of milky coffee."
Republicans aside, the menu offers "faithful versions" of Cuban dishes, and Martin Cizmar particularly likes the mojo pork ("juicy, shredded shoulder meat, brightened with citrus"), Cubano sandwich, and the "very nice" plantain side options. Not everything works — he suggests avoiding the "chalky" beans and overly citrusy guava chicken — but ultimately, El Cubo de Cuba is " very much a restaurant of the people." And that's a good thing. [WW]
The Mercury's Chris Onstad finds a lot to like at the revamped version of Angel Food and Fun, which features former Bluehour sous chef Manuel Lopez in the kitchen. Lopez's incarnation of the restaurant serves up "rich, rounded flavors" (and yes, there are burritos, tacos, and tamales). But Onstad recommends the "solid" take on Yucatan standards: "excellent" appetizers like fresh corn torillas, griddled tortillas, or pork empanadas, which arrive with a "crisp, nutty crust."
Soups and traditional dishes bring big flavors: a relleno negro turkey soup is "striking," escabeche deemed "soup for the Yucatecan soul." But cochinita pibil — "the Yucatán's most emblematic dish" — comes most highly recommended, with its "vibrant" and "enticing" broth. The "Fun" in Angel's name ostensibly refers to the shared space with pool hall and video lottery machines, but Onstad finds enough of it on the restaurant's menu. [Mercury]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]