Cuba Libre is celebrating its 9th St location’s 5 year anniversary this year, and you can celebrate with them by drinking lots of rum! Go now and try one or 8 or all of their 14 mojitos. The peach one is new for summer, it’s good; the raspberry one is even better. Go next month for double the celebration on National Rum Day. Drink 90 different rums! Responsibly! And soak up the rummy goodness with new menu items like Bruschettas de Tostones and Coconut-Crab Fritters!
Rum consumption is recommended but not required. Go just for the Cuban cuisine if you want. Try the Chipotle-Chicken Thigh Canape with watermelon and harissa paste. Sweet, spicy, fried goodness. The watermelon and the harissa are awesome together, refreshing and tingly. This dish is a home run. That’s a baseball metaphor; baseball is big in Cuba. So is seafood. The seafood soup with mussels, clams, shrimp, and more, is delicious. There is also a sweet plantain soup that can be served warm or chilled. It’s like dessert but it’s soup so you can get away with eating it before dinner. Plantains also show up in the Bruschettas de Tostones, where the bread usually is. The plantains are smashed and fried and cooked to a crispy thickness and topped with pineapple guacamole or, my preference, Cuban picadillo which is a mix of spicy ground meat and beans.
But let’s go back to the seafood because not only could you have a rum flight if you wanted, but you could also have a ceviche flight which is (almost) even better. Ceviche is a wonderful, wonderful thing. When scallops are in ceviche, I don’t mind scallops; I actually enjoy them. Cuba Libre has a classic ceviche with tiny morsel-sized Baja bay scallops and Pico de Gallo. They also offer a Wild Mexican shrimp ceviche with Latino cocktail sauce, perfect for shrimp fans so it’s perfect for everyone because everyone loves shrimp. But my favorite of the flight was the Yellowfin tuna ceviche with coconut-ginger sauce and pickled red onions. Amazing.
If you did decide to try all 90 rums and now you need some more substantial food, there are fritters on the menu and fritters are fried and perfect for balancing out your blood alcohol (actually I don’t know this, I’m not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by a medical professional so use your best judgment). The classic Cuban fritter is served with Tamarindo ketchup, it’s a fritter, fritters are fried and they melt in your mouth, you know what fritters are. No explanation needed. You’re gonna want to go for the Coconut-Crab fritter with sweet chili dipping sauce. You don’t need to choose, but if you did, you would choose the Coconut-Crab.
New entrees include a Ropa Vieja Ravioli which has clams and chorizo and is served over a maduro-butter sauce. It’s spicy and the chorizo is tender and delicious. They also offer a skirt steak with jalapeno chimichurri, served over a lighter-than-mashed-potatoes boniato yam mash. Both options are very good and pair well with rum.
Finally, new additions to the dessert menu include a key lime tart, a banana bread caramelo with coconut sorbet and butterscotch, and a tres leches cake topped with mocha mousse. All three are delicious. You can order dessert or you can order another rum drink. Or you can order both. You’re celebrating an anniversary. There are no limits!
(There are limits though, don’t push your limits. Be an adult).