Hidden Gem in Plaza Midwood.
Friday, we dined at Cuban Pete's restaurant in the artsy Plaza Midwood Neighborhood of Charlotte. This restaurant is in a strip mall and on the edge of sketchy-ness in Charlotte, but as soon as you walked in the doors you were taken away to a calm, fun and welcoming place making you forget where you actually were. Cuban Pete's has a wide selection of international rums and fun island drinks; coupled with the atmosphere this is a good mix.
As soon as I walked in I was surprised by how big it was. Decorated like a beach bar with faux palm trees, Latin upbeat music and tile floor it gives off a very good vibe. The restaurant is only a couple of months old so it's still in it's "becoming" stages, so I can let some things slide, but below I'll highlight the positives and negatives of the dinner.
First we had ordered a pitcher of Traditional Sangria which, in my opinion, was too tarty for my liking. The pitcher was moderately priced at 20.00 and was enough for four of us to drink from our whole meal at a medium pace. I had ordered the crispy pork bites and chicken empanadas for appetizers. The pork bites we're one of the better appetizers I have had in a while. They have a great texture and taste and would highly recommend; the empanadas ehhh, so so.
For the entree portion of the meal I had ordered a half chicken roast which was great. The chicken was very tender and full of flavor. The rice had more flavor than I am accustomed to which was a welcomed change. It also came with choice of green or sweet plantains and black beans which I substituted for fried Yucca. The Yucca was good, but nothing that made me say wow. It basically was a heartier french fry in both taste and texture. The plantains were fairly good, I think they could have been a little crispier but nonetheless they were good.
The two ladies that were with us for dinner ordered pork sandwiches. One a cuban and the other pulled pork. They both complained that the sandwich was extremely dry. I had a taste and I can contest that the sandwich was abnormally dry.
Overall I am looking forward to trying the restaurant again after it gets in a better flow. There was only a couple tables occupied and I really think that it's simply because of the location. It sits outside of all the bars/restaurants on Central Blvd in the strip mall which can be dissuading to the first time visitor.
Third time is NOT a charm. After my third time/third attempt at making Cuban Pete's a local favorite I have concluded that they have failed me! They have the potential to be great! but their inability to provide a bold and unique Cuban taste has pushed my friends and I away. They serve American/ Italian entrees and call them Cuban. I'm fairly certain Cuban cuisine does not include Chicken Milanese and hamburgers. Also, if I'm not mistaken, Cuban food is spicy and adventurous. not for the faint of heart. in fact, that's exactly how I would explain their food: unadventurous and bland. Instead of being bold and authentic they have taken the safe way out. Upside: their bartenders are outgoing and very polite. I don't blame them for their outrageous drink prices. Overall, if they don't change their ways, I give them 6 more months. Sorry Pete but it's time to grow some kehones.
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