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Still the Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine: de Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean

August 21, 2013 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, Florida, Nuevo Latino, Restaurant Reviews, Spanish/Tapas | 11 Comments

I’ll admit it. I’m a fool for “Nuevo Latino” as witnessed by the many times I’ve dabbled in that category on this site.

In fact, a lot of my fearlessness and creativity in the kitchen was inspired a long time ago by a few chefs like Douglas Rodriguez. He’s the undisputed “Godfather of Nuevo Latino” and a member of the critically-acclaimed Mango Gang that revolutionized the Floribbean concept in the late eighties-early nineties.

Over the years, I’ve been to at least 4 of his restaurants (Yuca, Patria, OLA and this one), each multiple times — and his Nuevo Latino cookbook is one of the few cookbooks that survived my move from New York to Florida (and is still with me after 3 more moves in FL). It’s a treasure.

Yes, I’m fan. Let me show you why.

De Rodriguez Cuba is tucked away on a side street on the ground floor of the Hilton Bentley hotel in the internationally-trendy South Beach area of Miami. 

•     •    •

Upon arrival, my friend Norma and I were delighted to discover that the Chef was ‘in da house’. He graciously joined us for a bit to chat about New York, mutual friends, and food. During the evening I noticed him greeting other tables too. That’s a nice gesture. I like an accessible chef!

The Meal
Chef suggested a tasting menu so that we could sample a wide variety of the dishes and this beautifully balanced Albariño. Here’s a virtual tasting for you.

Plantain chips with a tomato jam dip could be seriously addictive.

The tasting began with appetizers.

Smoked Marlin Tacos (in oh-so-clever boniato shells).

A quartet of ceviche: Tuna + Watermelon; Ecuadorian Shrimp + tostones; Chifa Salmon; Mixed Seafood.

This was my favorite course. Each ceviche was distinct with a variety of heat levels, citrus, seasonings and different garnishes.

(As readers of FOODalogue know, finishing touches are important to me and every dish presented all the way through to dessert had that detail.)

Next up was a creative tasting of tapas.

Rock Shrimp Chiccarones in a spicy aji sauce; Foie Gras + Fig Empanada with arugula, Serrano ham and black trumpet vinaigrette; a fun play on a Cuban Sandwich (on a stick and without the bread); and Kobe Meatballs in a creamy black truffle sauce.

The empanada was truly a perfect pairing with the ham, arugula and vinaigrette. It was love at first bite! 

The entreé tasting included beef, tuna and pork.

Vaca Frita (skirt steak) with tomatoes, avocados, rice + beans; Sugar Cane-speared Tuna over mashed potatoes and Catalan spinach; and Pork Belly.

We ended with a little Cuban coffee and a dessert sampler.

Goat Cheese Amarena Cherry Flan, Almond Cookies; Chocolate Mouse ‘Bomba’ and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream 

All hail the Godfather!
Rodriguez has not lost his touch. His creativity still abounds and there remains an attention to taste levels and finishing touches that speaks to his continued hands-on approach.

Looking out from the dining room:

Looking in:

Note: A few years ago our “South Florida Foodie Group” had an”Oye y Oy Vey” year-end holiday bash at de Rodriguez with a specially created menu. A few photos of the event and the whole pig served poolside are on my FB page.

de Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean
101 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach 33139
(305) 672-6624
Valet parking available, happy hour, special events, private parties, Miami Spice, tasting menu.

Disclosure: This was a media dine invite. The sentiment and photos are mine, straight from my heart and belly.

__________

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

11 Comments

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  1. bellini says:

    You know that I wish I had been there with you, Norma and all that stellar food from start to finish.

  2. Looks Great! I will have to bookmark this as a place to go when friends come to visit.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Lucerne, An Old Modern Swiss CityMy Profile

  3. he is such a nice man; always enjoy going to his restaurant

  4. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I am still “saboreando”. Douglas is a gem and I try to go to his happy hours at least twice a week…Thanks again Joan for a wonderful time…

  5. LidiaLipstick says:

    OMG I want to jump into my computer. Everything looks so delicious. Yummmmmyyyyyyy.

  6. I like accessible chefs too. His presentations are just amazing and very inspiring. No wonder you love his restaurants Joan.
    Sam
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..BLT Cornmeal Pancakes – a breakfast twist on a BLTMy Profile

  7. I like that restaurant too. I love the photos you take. Beautiful!
    Brenda Benoit recently posted..End of Summer Vacation Feast at Khong River House – Miami BeachMy Profile

  8. sippitysup says:

    Terrific menu and I think Albariño is a wonderful wine for Florida. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Tybee Island Summer for The Boys ClubMy Profile

  9. Lori Lynn says:

    Great pic of you! With the Chef…is he reading your business card?
    When I’m next in Miami, this place is on my list. Love the tacos and ceviche. Hey, why don’t we do tacos for a CCC challenge? Could be anything— gluten free, vegetarian, MEAT, any kind of shell or filling…
    I need to add that cookbook to my collection too…
    LL

  10. How did I miss this great post? I love Nuevo Latino as well and Rodriguez in particular. I have been missing posts from various blogs of late and not sure why. I may need to resubscribe!
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Pupusas–Salvadoran Cheese-Stuffed Cornmeal PattiesMy Profile

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