My Cuban Spot is permanently closed
My Cuban Spot
Elaborate tableside service, cocktail programs that could have been developed by Bill Nye, restaurant build-outs that cost as much as that diamond Rose threw into the ocean in Titanic - there are so many things going on at some restaurants that it can be easy to forget that the main focus should be what’s actually on the menu. My Cuban Spot, a takeout window in Gowanus, is a reminder that if a place serves excellent food, the rest of that stuff doesn’t really matter.
The options here mostly consist of rice bowls topped with beans and various meats and spices, plus Cuban sandwiches, all of which come on heavily-buttered, slightly-charred, pressed bread. The Cubano is made with slow-roasted pork that’s super rich, and every ingredient balances out to make this one of our favorite sandwiches in Brooklyn. But if you have any plans in the immediate future beyond watching Planet Earth slumped on your couch with your hand on your stomach, you can opt for a bowl instead without being disappointed - the “Oink Oink Babe” has the same juicy, rich, salty pork, but in a somewhat lighter format topped with a fantastic fried sweet plantain.
Space-wise, this spot is just a window on the sidewalk. So after ordering, you can bring your food to one of two small tables or take it to-go. Which is fine, because you could eat these Cuban sandwiches and rice bowls in the aisle of a commuter train at 5pm on a summer Friday and you’d still enjoy them. Although you’d probably make the people around you pretty jealous.
Nothing on the menu here costs more than $12, and even though the portions are large, you shouldn’t overlook sides like crispy empanadas filled with guava and cheese. Basically, you’re going to get some very good food at My Cuban Spot no matter what you order. Sometimes, that’s really all you need.
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These flaky empanadas cost less than a small coffee from an Australian cafe, and are filled with things like spiced ground beef, nutella, or guava and cheese. That last one is our favorite, and we’d happily eat it as either a starter or dessert.
As long as you’re OK with heading straight to your couch after eating, this is one of the best sandwiches in Brooklyn. The buttery Cuban bread is pressed super thin and the sandwich is packed with a bunch of different intense flavors that somehow don’t overwhelm each other.
Pan Con Bistec
This sandwich is a little lighter than the Cubano, which is kind of amazing considering it has layers of rich and salty New York strip steak, caramelized onions, and mini potato sticks. If you have to choose, get the Cubano, but the better option is getting both and splitting with someone.
Calling this a burger might be a stretch, but whatever you call this messy handheld meat sandwich, it’s damn good. The beef and pork patty has a bunch of spices and sweet flavors from the secret sauce, and there’s a fried egg on top, because that’s never a bad idea.
Oink Oink Babe
We don’t understand how dreams work, but we’re confident that the bites of this rice bowl that include both slow-cooked pork and fried sweet plantains are what they’re made of.
The flavors here are more subtle than the flavors in the pork rice bowl, but the ground beef, which is cooked for hours with tomatoes and olives, is sweet, salty, and packed with spices.