A Cuban Sandwich Survey of DFW

A Cuban sandwich has a very specific, wonderful flavor. Health-wise, eating a sandwich with roasted pork and ham in it is crazy, but some people eat bacon every single day, so I frequently indulge in a Cuban. And if that statement seems logically suspect, then consider this: along with the slow-roasted pork and sliced ham, a Cuban sandwich has pickle, mustard and Swiss cheese in pressed bread similar to French or Italian. This is what happiness tastes like. And if you want a sandwich that goes with a glass of red wine, this works. So, screw logic.

A Cuban is toasted in a press until the surface of the bread is slightly crispy, the cheese is melted and the sandwich is compressed. Put together with skill and attention to detail, it’s like a rich man’s grilled ham and cheese. The ham should be soft textured and slightly sweet. But the pork, slow-roasted in a citrus and garlic marinade, is what gives this sandwich a kick.

A Cuban is typically ruined when people move too far away from the formula. If it’s not Cuban bread, it should be Italian or French. There shouldn’t be greens or tomatoes on it. Some places will try to get away with using thinly sliced deli pork and that doesn’t work. Dallas has plenty of places serving up takes on this classic, some more or less authentic, most of them pretty good. Here's a sampling:

1. Uncle Uber’s
2713 Commerce St., 214-653-8237
Uncle Uber's is in Deep Ellum, so it's the perfect spot for anyone hit with a Cuban craving while out listening to a little music. The fries that come on the side are the best for miles, with perfect texture and bold seasoning. Plus, they come with Secret Sauce, one of the best fry dippers ever. This is a sammich shop take on a Cuban sandwich, not the most authentic rendition; so don’t expect the bread to have lard in it. But it hits all the high notes and it’s a beast, enough for two meals. There is a ridiculous amount of meat, and it’s an extra greasy affair, but totally worth it.

2. East Hampton Sandwich Co.
6912 Snider Plaza, 214-363-2888

First of all, there aren’t any good sides here. The homemade potato chips just taste like stale potato chips. Even the “spicy pimento” dip was bland. But most important, this is not a Cuban sandwich. I don’t expect Cuban bread — a small baguette is an acceptable substitute — but ciabatta bread just doesn’t fly. And a spring salad mix doesn't belong on a Cuban sandwich. It also has a “mojo sauce” that tastes a lot like Italian dressing. This sandwich wasn’t gross, but it wasn't a Cuban.

3. C Señor
330 W. Davis St; 214-941-4766

This Cuban food stand in Oak Cliff rules. They have an authentic Cuban sandwich, only bigger, jam-packed with perfectly seasoned roast pork and very reasonably priced. The size guarantees greasy hands for anyone eating it, but otherwise no weaknesses here. Savor the yucca fries with it. I also recommend a café cubano — espresso with raw sugar — while you wait for your food.

4. Cuco’s Sandwich Shop
6650 Glenview Dr; 817-284-1692

If a restaurant with a Cuban sandwich is painted pink, that's a good sign, as far as authenticity goes. This North Richland Hills sandwich shop also has a great selection of Latin groceries. By all means, get the café con leche. It's huge. The maduros are easily some of the best fried sweet plantains in North Texas. The Cuban is perfect. It’s been pressed and cut with great precision, so it doesn't coat hands with grease, and they add a thin slice of salami that complements the flavors incredibly well.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeremy Hallock

Latest Stories