Ball & Chain's Cuban Spring Roll Is a Rollercoaster of Flavor

Cuban spring roll at Ball & Chain
Cuban spring roll at Ball & Chain
Carla Torres

We recently disclosed the top ten Cuban sandwiches in town.The Cuban spring roll at Ball & Chain was left out. But it is still one of the primary takes on a classic redone.

"You can get amazing Cuban food on practically every block down and up Calle Ocho," says owner Zach Bush. "We didn't want to compete." Indeed, competition is eliminated when you're serving up something no one else is.

And in the case of the revived live music venue that hosted the likes of Billie Holiday and Count Bassie when it first opened circa 1935, that isn't just limited to the cocktails — although good luck finding a proper daiquiri in town in the first place — let alone one that infuses aged rum with pastelito and crowns your drink with the quintessential Cuban pastry. If you need something to wash down what's coming next, this will do it justice.

Roll with this.
Roll with this.
Carla Torres

Priced at $8, the Cuban spring roll was a product of (like most wonderful things) trial and error. "It's trickier than you think to find and make bar food you can eat with your hand that still tastes good. We didn't want to go with the obvious."

Obvious is a sandwich, but what fun would that have been? And more important, with the hordes of top-notch Cubanos you can get within a three mile radius, how crave able? "A spring roll though, that's something you crave." Especially when it has a crispy and flaky yet doughy exterior that packs a crunch with every bite. One offset by velvety and just-the-right-amount pungent Swiss cheese that subsequently cuts right through the brininess of the ham and smokiness of the pork. Good thing cool and slimy pickles come in for the kill when you least expect it.

Saucy? It's served alongside faintly spiced mustard aioli. Pro tip: dip away.

So, next time you get tired of the old ball and chain (the archetypal Cubano in this case), head to Ball & Chain to shake things up. 

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