Real Cubano – North End Caffe, Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach

north end (1)

This is what I understand a Cuban sandwich to be. Roast pork (incuding mojo sauce), ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. In a nod to my understanding, the above sandwich is designated the “Real Cubano” on the menu. That’s quite the bold statement, as many residents of Tampa would insist that a Real Cubano contains a layer of salami. What exactly defines the archetype is a matter of dispute, and I have neither right nor interest in settling the matter. My concern is always the sandwich in front of me, and the sandwich in front of me was delicious.

The pork is the real standout here. As I understand it there’s some smoked salt involved in the roasting. That smoke flavor comes through in the finished product and really adds a stellar layer to the sandwich, turning this from perfectly serviceable to notably good. Everything else is quality and works well together, as you would expect from such a classic archetype, and the result is a very good sandwich. As I don’t particularly care for ham, the Cubans tends to be a pretty rare sandwich for me. All the more delightful, then, when the one I do enjoy happens to be a great one.

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