My favorite detail about the place is the authentic Cuban staff; they all speak with a heavy Cuban dialect and wear guayaberas. Immediately, I feel at home with my quick-tongued spanish. And ironically, for a place crawling with (mostly) Latinos, it’s not loud.
Glance at the menu and your wallet will sigh with relief. Most of the appetizers are under $5, and the most expensive entrée is under $20. While you decide what to eat, they serve their version of ‘bread’. Large Cuban crackers with a homemade paste similar to what you would find in a Cuban bocaditos (it’s pork and ham processed into an unnatural marmalade color, but it’s wonderful). It’s delicious, and they are generous; we had our little dish refilled three times, always with a smile.
Because the plates are inexpensive I decided on a smorgasbord of food: a Media Noche (Cuban sandwich with sweet bread), platano maduros (sweet plaintains), moro (rice & beans), and an avocado salad (you get what this is). The results of delectability was split 50/50; the avocado salad was perfect, sliced plentifully on a plate and garnished with thin onion shavings and olive oil, and the moro was as good as abuela’s. That said, the platanos where too thick and undercooked in the center, and the sandwich was a mess. For starters when they brought the Media Noche out, it was cold – everyone knows you toast a Media Noche, and if you didn’t know it, now you know.
I asked them to toast it.
Ten minutes later the sandwich was returned to me, cheese melted and meat warm, but the bread was soggy, meaning: they warmed it in a microwave! It was literally inedible. At one point a waiter came over to me and joked, “Eat! You’re too skinny.” I took the compliment, but didn’t touch the sandwich. However, I did devour the other food – platanos included. I also got a café con leche to go. Despite the mishap over what should have been their easiest dish (come on, how do you mess up a Media Noche in a Cuban restaurant), I wasn’t upset when the bill came; $15 total, tip included.
Though I wouldn’t rush out to check the NJ Transit schedule on how to get to North Bergen, NJ to stop in at La Rumba Cubana, it is worth checking out if you happen to be in town. Just don’t order a sandwich.