Cuba de Ayer
15446 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866
Cuisines: South American, Cuban
Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Ham croquettes; beef empanadas; vaca frita; ropa vieja; masitas; picadillo; Cubano sandwich; plantains; black beans and rice; tres leches cake.
Appetizers $2 to $7, entrées $8 to $15.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Good for Groups
If you’ve ever attended a Cuban Christmas dinner, you’ve probably feasted on pernil, a homey dish of roast pork shoulder that features tender meat and crisp, garlicky skin. Here it’s done wonderfully, demonstrating yet again that owners Jessica and William Rodriguez understand the mandate of the Cuban restaurant: The food should never be too fine or fussy.
The best plates brim with the values of great homecooking, such as the picadillo (beef-and-potato hash studded with raisins), the lechon (slow-cooked pork shoulder draped in sweet onions), and the excellent black beans and rice. Dessert brings one of the best versions of tres leches around. Resist the cocktail list—the drinks are as thin as the food is full-bodied.
Also good: Ham croquetas; vaca fritta, shredded, pan-fried flank steak; pork masitas.