Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Last Supper at Versaiiles

The Spread: Puercos Fritos with fried plantains, rice, black beans and french fries.

Tonight is the last supper in Los Angeles and we're at Versailles Cuban Food in Manhattan beach with Al, Polly and Laila. In a way, I'm sad to leave family, but I'm also looking forward to this eating binge disguising itself as a working holiday. We haven't done anything except eat since I arrived - which explains so much about Mario Batali.

I'd seen Versailles during my May visit to L.A. and tonight we were in the mood. We got there kinda late (about 9:30pm) and the staff didn't look too happy to see us - especially since it was a slow night and they were probably ready to get the fuck outta there. Happily, another table of four came in a few minutes after us so, if there was any spitting going on in the kitchen, it would be on their food and not ours - I just needed to make sure our food was ordered and fired ahead of theirs.

Lomo Salteado

The food at Versailles is standard Cuban fare and while I'd like to think i've had a bit of experience with Cuban food, I have to admit it's pretty limited, and probably pretty stereotypical. Heck, I probably couldn't tell you a traditional Cuban dish beyond the sandwich.

As typical of our eating adventures, the spread was large. Polly went with the Carne Asada, Al ordered the Cuban Sandwich, Laila ordered the Lomo Salteado and I went with the Puercos Fritos. We started off with some Jamon y Queso Croquetes that were inattentively fried and came out on the dark side. The texture and flavor were perfunctory and nothing to rave about.

I was able to sample a little of the Carne Asada and Lomo Salteado, again just decent cooking, nothing that blew me away. Although I was surprised to see the Lomo Salteado on the menu, having only known that as being a Peruvian dish, but that just goes to show you how much I know about Cuban cuisine.

Cuban Sandwich. Could have used more pickles.

My Puercos Fritos were actually pretty darn good. Slightly on the salty side and the vinegar based sauced only heightened the acidity and saltiness of the dish, but I quite enjoyed it. One problem with the dish, and perhaps its' really my problem is that I noticed what looked like fried fat to me hunked on the back of the plate. I figured these were extra fatty pieces of meat and reserved those for last. When, after consuming all the pork, I reached those pieces, I realized that they weren't fried fat, they were fried plantains! Crap. I tasted them. Yum. Sweet and delicious. Shit, they would have been the perfect counterbalance to the salty fried pork! And I had finished it all! Screwed.

Once again, foiled by my own ignorance.

Carne Asada.

All in all, the food was decent. Again, nothing to march the streets over, just decent cooking at a decent price. And in many ways, you really can't ask for more than that!

Now I'm ready for that flight home.

1000 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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