As the second week of Restaurant Week gets underway, our merry group of diners headed for Cuba. Well, not the island, but the well-known Cuban eatery on West Dixie, Don Ramos, which was offering a special $15, three-course lunch.
Pam and I were introduced to Don Ramos recently by friends who have been longtime regulars, and it did not disappoint. So we were looking forward to making our second visit with Bill and Eileen.
Inside, the restaurant has a great vibe: Dark woods and vibrant art that captures the Cuban and Caribbean spirit.
We arrived for our 1 pm reservation and got a booth by the windows. The restaurant's policy is wear a mask when you are not dining at your table, which we agree with wholeheartedly.
While they brought a stack of menus to our table, none of them were the Restaurant Week menu. When we asked, they had to print one off so we could see the choices, which we thought a little odd.
The first decision was between beef empanadas and chicken soup. Since Pam and I are not beef eaters, it was easy -- give us the soup. Our companions went with the empanadas. Speaking strictly for the soup, it was excellent -- lots of veggies and thin noodles in a delicious stock. You could easily make it a meal with a bigger portion.
You had four chopices for entree: Pollo a la Plancha (Chicken Filet); Lechon Asado (Roast Pork); Filete de Pescado (Fish Filet) or Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef), plus three side orders from this group: White or Yellow Rice, Black, Red or White Beans, Sweet Plantains, Tostones, Yuca, French Fries, Broccoli or Side Salad.
After much deliberation, Pam went with the fish while I chose the chicken. For side dishes, she got white rice, white beans and french fries, while I went with the white beans, sweet plantains and tostones, which I had never had before (my nod to adventures in eating).
Pam's order arrived with the wrong beans, and mine had the wrong chicken. For some reason, they didn't have the chicken filets so they substituted grilled chicken with peppers and onions. To be honest, the service overall was lacking on this visit, a big change from our first time here. Besides the order mixup, it was slow and our waitperson had just a little attitude going as well.
Nonetheless, the food was good, and the portions generous. On the downside, Pam would have liked some sauce for the fish, and Bill found the roast pork a little dry as well. My tostones, which I discovereed were flattened and fried plantains, were not to my liking. I'll stay with the sweet variety.
Our meal also included the choice of Cortadito (Small Café con Leche) or Cuban Coffee. Three of us got the former, while Bill went with the Cuban coffee. I'm not usually a coffee drinker, but the Cafe con Leche was very tasty.
While dessert isn't part of the special, we splurged and ordered a round of Flan and Tres Leches cake. Both were outstanding, and well-deserved additions to our take-home boxes.
If you haven't been here, now a great time to give it a try. Hopefully, the service hiccups were a one-time thing. --Gerry Barker
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"