Best Flan - 2012
At the table next to yours, the men are talking about the perfect salsa dance partner. Your friend knows Cuban slang, so he translates: "She's cool without being cold; firm with just a little bit of —" and he searches for the word before coming up with "jiggle." The men dance alone to their cars without getting dessert; if they had, they might have found what they were looking for in the flan. Casa Larios makes five types of it: flan de leche, flan de queso, flan de mamey, flan de coco, and flan de calabaza ($4.25 each, and the last two are made only at the South Miami location). All are drizzled with a house-made caramel sauce that pools on the flan's flat top and about its round base, just enough for a kick of sweetness. She's not saucy, the flan, because she doesn't need to be. The queso version has a savory earthiness that contrasts well with the caramel, and the mamey variety shifts on the tongue along with the complexities of the fruit. But the standard-bearing flan de leche deserves special mention for its mellow, yolky color and pliancy against the edge of a spoon without the shiny wobble that dooms many renditions. The flan at Casa Larios isn't much for dancing, but it's about as good a time as possible while sitting.