More Than Just Moros

Dessert might seem like an overindulgence here, but the house specialty is just as much fun to watch topped off as it is to eat. Homemade crema catalana (vanilla custard) is scooped into ice-cream sundae dishes in the kitchen and then blow-torched at the table to produce that burnt-sugar crust. Less dramatically presented sweets include seven different kinds of flan; the chocolate version, smooth and sweet, was doused with a caramel sauce and garnished with sugar-wafer straws.

A few months ago I reviewed a Spanish restaurant -- a place influenced by Cuban cuisine -- where I had received rotten treatment and worse food. A reader wrote to tell me why I wasn't welcome there: You're a gringa, he noted. These restaurants don't want me and my kind around. When was I going to get it?

I'm not naive. I understand the prejudices -- reverse or otherwise -- that drive the citizens of this city. But I refuse to buy into them and, I'm glad to report, so does Las Nuevas Culebrinas. We were probably the only gringos in the room the night we dined, and we still received respectful, competent service.

Las Nuevas Culebrinas
4700 W Flagler St, Miami; 445-2337. Lunch and dinner Sunday-Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until midnight.

Tortilla espanola
$3.95

Seafood in vinaigrette
$6.50

Vaca frita
$8.95

Goat stew
$12.95

Crema catalana
$3.00

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