The Cuban sandwich can and should be a thing of beauty. First, a traditional version leverages two kinds of pork (usually shredded shoulder and sweet ham), so you're already in amazing shape before you get to ingredient number three. What makes the sandwich really interesting is the play on flavors from pairing sweet and succulent pork with fragrant mustard, sweet, crunchy pickles, and tangy Swiss cheese. Needless to say it's an interesting sandwich and bar favorite. That is, unless someone tries to mess with a good thing.
A recent trip to the downtown Grumpy's caught me in the mood for something different, and its Cuban jumped right off the menu. An initial inspection of the sandwich didn't raise any concerns, but the first bite did. There was plenty of succulent, juicy pork shoulder, which is really hard to screw up, as it's one of the more forgiving proteins. The sweet ham was doing its diligence, and the pickles seemed harmless, so I decided to take off the buttered and griddled bun to see what was causing such an interruption. Then I saw the culprit--mayo, and lots of it. On a Cuban? Sacrilege. The look on my face must have mirrored the disappointment I saw every time my parents reviewed my report card. Putting mayo on a Cuban is like putting flannel pajamas on a Victoria's Secret model. Why cover up the goods? I also noticed that instead of traditional yellow mustard they used overly sweet honey mustard, which is like putting powdered sugar on a meatball hoagie.
Sandwich rating: Hey, It's Nourishment. All the traditional items were there, but the flavors were masked by excess and unwanted guests. Call me a purist, but future visits to Grumpy's will involve only big burgers and bold beers.
Epic Sandwich copyright 2010 by TeddyHobbins