Tina’s Cuban Cuisine

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23 W 56th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10019

Upon entering this place, it reminded us of Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine — they must be best friends!  It offers somewhat similar choices and has the infamous green sauce.  Also, it seems that it is also a popular lunch spot.  This time we had our special guests of Mary and Andrew (Andy) to join us on our PINCTOR ADVENTURE! YAY.  MENU HERE

Pinky says 3/5

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I am on the fence between a two and a three star rating for this one.  I ordered the pork with spanish potato salad and the sweet plantains.  I felt like the pork was really really dry in that it was so hard to chew and my dish was the only one out of four other dishes that were cold.  Perhaps, not many people order the roast pork — BUT still not a good reason to serve close to cold dishes.  The waitress was nice enough to be patient with my party as we took a while to choose what to eat.  Service was fast and had a lot of food on our table in what felt like seconds.

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Spanish Potato Salad $2.49
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Roast Pork Pernil $9.99 includes 2 sides (pictured with plantains)

Potato salad was interesting as it had a very strong lemon juice flavor…but other than that it tasted regular.
The plantains was really really sweet and reminded me of dessert and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t eat dessert before meals lol.  My taste buds were really confused! I DID order sweet plantains but I didn’t realize it would be that sugary…Tasted more like just regular bananas.
Compared to Sophie’s (yes, I have to mention this!) it was a bit disappointing.  The green sauce was not as good in that it was a lot more watery and less flavored. I didn’t use much of it because of that fact.  The place itself is very similar though.  Decor is simple though it was not as crowded as Sophie’s.

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I was a bit disappointed in that we invited Mary and Andy to this place first since we always have home-run restaurants that we go visit haha.  But, you win some you lose some.

Victor says 3/5

Rice with Chicken Arroz Con Pollo ($9.00) includes only one side since rice is already one side
Rice with Chicken Arroz Con Pollo ($9.00) includes only one side since rice is already one side

I may have set my standards a little high because I was comparing this establishment with Sophie’s (we reviewed this earlier in the year). It also looks very similar to Sophie’s too! However, I just don’t think the quality of food is the same.

First off, this place is relatively busy. It appears that they have a lot of the customers and such. It’s good place to grab a quick bite if you’re on the go, though.

The waitress was kind, but didn’t come back to us after we got our food. I ordered tamales and rice with chicken. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the tamales honestly. It’s a corn meal patty stuffed with ground pork garnished with onions. I didn’t find this appetizer very appealing (but that’s just me). It was moist and sorta tasted like corn bread. Didn’t really taste the pork though. It was however, very moist and soft.

The main entrée, the rice with chicken, was pretty average in my opinion. I decided to get the sweet plantains as my side. The chicken was juicy and moist. It looked seasoned, but I couldn’t really taste it. Just your average chicken. The rice was sorta clumpy. The quality of rice is sorta like from a bad Chinese food restaurant. I really loved the  sweet plantains though! Sadly, they gave such a small portion as a side.

What very positive thing about this restaurant is that it serves its food incredibly quick. It’s probably because that they have most of it ready from the take-out section, regardless, you get your food relatively quick. It’s possible that we may have also come on an “off day” and things weren’t exactly their best.

Mary & Andy says 3/5

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Mary ordered the Cuban Sandwich ($7.45 which includes Roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, mayo and mustard) She also had part of a Cheese patty {cheese empanadas} ($1.65)

I guess I was expecting more “authenticness” but the mustard in my sandwich seemed like regular mustard.

Cheese patty ($1.65)
Cheese patty ($1.65)

It [Empanada] was okay.  I didn’t know that the cheese empanadas was just cheese.  I thought it was beef and cheese…I should have got meat in it. But Andy liked the crust.

Spicy Grilled Chicken includes two sides, pictured with sweet plantains and yellow rice ($9.99)
Spicy Grilled Chicken includes two sides, pictured with sweet plantains and yellow rice ($9.99)

Andy ordered the Spicy Grilled Chicken – Pollo Picante ($9.99 that includes 2 sides)

Chicken was dry.

Andy…a man of few words.

Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine

DSCN982996 Chambers St
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhoods: Civic Center, TriBeCa

With the big red flag, this place is hard to miss.  The place is really casual and very friendly.  Although there are no fancy plating or fancy decor, the place is worth visiting and is a very popular lunch joint.  It was crowded with people shoving the cashiers with money in exchange for the delicious food.  If you’re in the area and looking for a quick bite to satisfy your taste buds as long as your wallet, this is the place to go.

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Baked Chicken with Yellow Rice and Plantains $9.00
Baked Chicken with Yellow Rice and Plantains $9.00
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Pernil with a Twist – Roast pork, mayo, onions, sweet plantains, and Sophie’s special green sauce $7.99

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Victor says: 4.75/5

The outside and inside of this restaurant isn’t appealing. The atmosphere within the restaurant is noisy and hectic. I’m going to warn you though… the food is EXTREMELY OILY.  So don’t come crying back to me when you find a pimple the next day.

But what really captures our interest in this restaurant is the AMAZING food here and it’s relatively CHEAP too. In less than 5 minutes of ordering, our food was already on our tables. It’s almost as fast as fast food, but better! The waitress may be hard to understand and may mix up your order, so make sure she doesn’t give you the wrong thing! But nevertheless, the ordering mistake turned out to be delicious. We originally wanted beans, but we were given plantains and I DO NOT REGRET IT  one bit at all.

We ordered a Baked Chicken Meal and a Pulled Pork Sandwich with a twist. Both very delicious dishes that were recommended by others. The baked chicken was juicy, tender, and mouth-watering, even though it oozed of oil. The skin of the chicken was sweet and seasoned very well. The rice was delicious too, but I suspect it was cooked in butter and oil because of how thick and smooth it was. It came with a side of plantains…. and they were probably the BEST plantains I’ve ever had so far. It’s like a mix of having the sweet taste of bananas with the texture of a potato.

The pulled pork sandwich was pretty darn good too! It had a very smokey flavor and it had plantains too!!! They had this green sauce too! Not sure whats in it, but I think it has cilantro. It’s sweet and tangy and adds a good kick to the sandwich. The pork was a bit dry, but it was definitely enjoyable.

Overall, I would definitely check this place out. Not the greatest place if you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere, but it has some delicious food!

DSCN9824 Pinky says: 5/5

SO GOOD. SO MUCH FOOD.  Vic and I came here after my work session at Euphoria Spa and tried the recommended dishes and was not disappointed at all.  Although the staff was a bit rushed because there were many customers, they seemed tired and over-worked but still served us on time.  It was great!  They were very fast and good workers.  All food had many flavors sunk into it.  We had the baked chicken with side of yellow rice and plantains.  The plantains, I was a bit afraid to try but they were delicious too!!  As you may know, I am more of a potato person and I was reminded often that the plantains tasted like potatoes!  But maybe even better!  We were actually going to get the beans but the waitress misunderstood me.  She gave us plantains with the yellow rice.  The rice was so oily but it was oily goodness.  I wish the baked chicken had a bit more meat in it though.

The pulled pork with a twist was very tasty  too.  The sandwich was oddly matched pretty well with the plantains too. THE GREEN SAUCE IS SO DARN ADDICTING.. YUMM-OH. I kept drowning it in everything….even writing about it now, my stomach is growling…GRR GRRR…