Alberto Cabrera is a big fan of the sandwich. That's why his Little Bread Sandwich Company, which opens in Little Havana tomorrow, is a project the chef has been wanting to do for a long time.
The question, of course, is how can you stamp your identity on something as seemingly simple as a Cuban sandwich or a reuben?
Cabrera got his answer in New Orleans. "I set out to do a little research and I went to [the well-known Cajun restaurant] Cochon. That was the route I wanted to take. I want to have a fresh approach to the classics, using great salamis and nice country ham. I bought this really nice smoker so we can smoke out own meats and pastramis."
Cabrera then made the decision to locate the restaurant in Little Havana after William Fuller and Martin Pinella of the Barlington Group showed him the space. "These guys are behind the whole resurgence of Little Havana. We had been talking for three or four years, but this was a natural fit and the space is the perfect space for this concept."
Even though the name of Cabrera's latest project touts the Cuban, there are plenty of other options on the menu. "Being Cuban, I wanted to focus on these classic sandwiches, but obviously, I'm American, as well. I want to include a muffaletta, and a reuben. We'll also have some good specials."
The chef will put his own touches on each sandwich. For instance, the Cuban will be made with a pork belly rillette, country ham, gourmet cheese, and house-made pickle; the medianoche will be presented on a brioche bun; and the reuben will be made with pastrami, roasted pork, and truffled thousand island dressing. But, Cabrera stresses, the roots of the sandwich will still be there. "You can't make a reuben with chicken pastrami. If you do, it's not a reuben. It's a chicken sandwich!"
In addition to sandwiches, the Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Company will sell old school American sodas, shakes, pie, chips, sides, and homemade pickles. Items made in-house will also be available for sale to take home like mustard caviar, rillette, and "kick-ass" meatloaf by the slice. The shop will also offer Biscayne Brewing beer on tap and wine.
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Although the menu hasn't been finalized, expect sandwiches to be in the $6-12 range. As Cabrera says, "I want to make sure the restaurant is a neighborhood place."
The Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Shop will be open from Sunday - Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. The restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.