Cheap Eats 2012: Cuba de Ayer

Cheap Eats 2012

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
shredded, pan-fried flank steak; pork

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.