Cheap Eats 2015: Mi Cuba Café

Where we get our favorite picadillo.
Cheap Eats 2015: Mi Cuba Café
Photo by Scott Suchman

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.

Cuisine: Cuban

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.

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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 Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.