Sunday night we went down to the North Carolina Museum of Art to see Afrocubism, a group of internationally renowned music artists from Cuba and the impoverished West Afican country of Mali. As our last foray into African food was a near disaster (cold food, the cook and hostess embroiled in a domestic dispute, etc.) we decided to go Cuban and stopped in to Carmen’s Cuban Cafe in Morrisville.
WHAT WE ATE:
Papa Rellenas (or Rellena de Papa to my New Yorican wife) ($5.95) – Breaded mashed potatoes, stuffed with a seasoned ground beef called picadillo and fried. These were two of the bigger Papa Rellenas I have seen and almost looked like a meal by itself. They had a nice crunchy texture on the outside and the potatoes and picadillo had a decent flavor. I prefer these a little smaller with a larger portion of picadillo in the middle. I found myself digging out the middle to get past all the mash.
For more about Rellenas de Papa click here
Lechon Asado ($12.95) – Slow roasted pork with garlic and onions. Also came with a side of rice and tostones (twice fried plantains). This is a dish that I am normally crazy about because I am a huge roasted pork fan but I felt lukewarm about this one as i found the the flavor to be uninspiring. The yellow rice was great and the tostones were huge (although they were missing its usual partner, garlic mojo sauce).
To learn how to make tostones click here
Boliche Mechado ($13.95) – Eye round steak stuffed with chorizo, carrots and bacon. I felt that this dish was the star of the evening. Everything on the plate was teeming with flavor. The meat was tender enough that no knife was required and the rice was warm and fluffy. This is a great sub $14 deal.
Carmen’s had its ups and downs and I would go again to see how they do with some of my other cuban favorites like empanadas. On Fridays and Saturdays you can put those over priced salsa dance lessons to use because Carmen’s becomes Touch Ultra Lounge. Check their website here to find out details.