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Yuca

501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 33139, United States

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Given that Miami is 60% Cuban it seemed sensible to try some Cuban food while I was there. I have little experience of this cuisine, and asked a Cuban I had met (who lives in Miami and whose hobby is cooking) for ideas; this was his recommendation. Yuca is in the pedestrianised Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, a street of shops, bars and eating places running perpendicular to the ocean. There are tables outside and a light, airy dining room in addition. 

I should have realised things were awry when I was handed a wine list which had various respectable growers, but no vintages listed. Now I am aware that not everyone is that interested in wine, and that in some cases, especially at the cheap end and in certain climates, vintages don’t vary that much. Hence if this had been a list with a dozen choices of sub $30 wines then fair enough, but it wasn’t. The list had Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, a serious wine that was listed here at $140. Is that a good price? Well, if it was the 2006 then it is tolerable ($67 retail) and if it was the 1995 it would be a bargain (retail price £105), but without the vintage who would know? I gave up and drank beer.

Some really basic bread with cotton-wool texture turned up (7/20) while I read the menu. I went for piquilla peppers stuffed with chorizo and cep ($12). These were decent enough in themselves, with minced chorizo, but if there was indeed any cep here then it was in tiny quantity (getting on for 11/20). 

A piece of seared tuna came with the most confused salad I can recall. It had beetroot (that seasonal summer Florida speciality) olives, tomatoes, celery, carrots, avocado, pickled ginger, radish and I am probably still missing elements – things from all sorts of different seasons and styles, with some rather sad-looking leaves and a garnish of dried-out cilantro. This was an absurd dish (9/20).

I was too depressed after this to venture into desserts here, so paid my $81 for two courses and some beer, and concluded that I would not bother further with Cuban restaurants without much better due diligence. Service was actually fine, from a slightly bewildered but very pleasant young man who had recently started working here.

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  • Ariel

    Andy, why not go rob Cuba for real Cuban? The dishes you picked out where probably the worst choices you could have made at a Cuban restaurant. The Cubans are not known for Chorizo or Tuna. My favorite Cuban restaurant in NYC is Calle Ocho. Love your blog!! Amazing body of work.

  • Name unavailable

    The food was definately lovely. I mean, wow.

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