The Sugar Plum of South Tampa and I were pleased to discover last night that we didn't have to drive all the way to Boliche Boulevard (Columbus Drive for the out-of-towners) or Ybor City for some truly tasty, filling and unpretentious Spanish Caribbean cooking. Many of the dishes prepared and served at the Nuevo Cafe at 3301 South Dale Mabry are considered to be Cuban when in fact variations can be found throughout the Caribbean.
The Nuevo Cafe has a sparkling, modestly sized dining area offering the choice of sitting at a table or at the bar. We were promptly greeted at the door and chose table seating. Menus and the offer of iced water came next. The Nuevo Cafe serves only Bud and Bud Lite draft plus a house red or white wine, we chose a Bud and Bud Lite to accompany dinner.
For our starters we chose the Devil Crab Minis - four golf ball sized portions which were perfect for sharing between the two of us. The minis may have been small in size, but they were big in taste. For her entrée my dining partner chose the Chicken Milanesa, a breaded chicken breast prepared with a rich tomato sauce and topped with chopped boiled egg, peas, pimientos, and grated Romano cheese. She declared this to be a gastronomic delight.
To take a taste trip around the islands, I chose the Taste of Ybor. This dish included the trio of Ropa Vieja, Picadillo, and Roast Pork served with a large scoop of yellow rice with peas and pimientos. The "old clothes" was based upon a flank steak simmered in a Burgundy sauce and was muy bueno. Also perfectly prepared was the Spanish hash, and the moist and delicious roast pork. Any of the trio components would be more than capable of standing alone.
As side dishes, we shared the Yuca Frita (fried yuca sticks) with a dipping sauce of lemon, olive oil, and garlic, plus the Fried Plantain Maduras. Very tasty!
We were too stuffed for dessert, but an adjacent table raved over the Flan.
Our bill for a couple of beers each and food came to a whopping $35.78 that included our 20% gratuity. The Nuevo Cafe provided a very pleasant dining experience. We have spent a whole lot more for a whole lot less at other establishments, so the Nuevo Cafe in South Tampa was a real treat.