Picadillo is not a difficult dish to make. It’s a hearty hash of ground beef, tomatoes, garlic, and onions doused with a touch of wine, sweetened with raisins, and salted with olives. Every Cuban cook makes a version. But no Cuban cook—at least none who owns a restaurant in this area—makes it like this. The meat is so soft as to be almost velveted, in the Chinese manner, and the component parts have been knitted together so tightly you forget you’re eating what is essentially a sloppy Joe. The good news is that it’s not a one-off. The kitchen brings it with every dish—from the crunchy croquetas to the masterful lechon asado (a roast pork that may forever after stamp itself on your brain as the picture that goes alongside the term “comfort food”) to the make-you-forget-Miami Cubano.
Where you can find it: 1424 Park Rd., NW; 202-813-3489
Also good: Beef empanadas; vaca frita, braised beef that’s shredded and fried.