Imagine a sub shop where a media noche is a triple-decker packed with porchetta and a reuben is smeared with truffle thousand island dressing. If you're thinking this is only a place that can exist in your gourmand dreams, think again because it's exactly the premise behind Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Co.
Miami-born Alberto Cabrera has an affinity for sandwiches, which he's merged with his Cuban heritage. The result is a sandwichery like no other. Sure, you can get the same media noche croquettes found on the menu at his inaugural restaurant, Bread + Butter, but that's where similarities start and end. The Elena Ruz and pan con bistec have been elevated and the Cuban reuben has been made into a reubencito.
There's a real old-school meets American patriotism feel going on here. Frames depicting the story of Cuba hang from an exposed brick wall. Enjoy them as you wait in line to make your order. Maybe even take up some reading -- Cabrera's brought his grandmother's books like Historia de la Isla de Cuba. "It's stuff before the revolution. Not the story everyone knows," he says.
If you're trying to eat rather than read during your lunch break, you can do that too. The menu is divided into four categories: snacks, sandwiches, sides and desserts.
Little snacks include daily empanadas in tandem with whatever Cabrera has available, local catch escabeche with romesco and Cuban crackers, Bread + Butter's famed media noche croquettes, and a frita slider. We opted for the local tomatoes, which are tossed with avocado, pickled onions, radish, cucumbers, and drenched in a coriander ranch that will have you licking your cazuela ($6).
Another not-so-little snack worth biting into are the smoked chicken wings with kimchi and Florida honey ($8).
Now for the sandwiches, which are the meat and potatoes (or in this case the bread) of Little Bread's menu. You can go the traditional route and get a classic Cuban ($12), although it's not entirely classic. Instead of the regular and boring sliced pork, Cabrero's made a pork belly rillete and added salami to the ham and swiss equation. "Everything has a twist to it," he says.
It sure does. Take the media noche, which is served on three slices of perfectly toasted brioche. Yep, three slices. It's a media noche triple decker, and it's got porchetta, ham, ementhal cheese, lettuce, tomato, housemade pickles and mustard caviar. The best part? It costs only 10 bucks. If you didn't have lunch plans today, now you do. Although be warned, it might be a long lunch. Little Bread's specialty crafted sandwiches aren't as fast as one might want them to be, but they are certainly worth the wait.
In three months, Cabrera will offer a rotating selection of charcuterie that he's smoking and curing in house, as well as supplying his on salami and chorizo for the decadent sandwiches. For now though, you're just going to have to settle for smoked pork butt. No, you didn't misread. Smoked pork butt can be found in the pan con lechon along with onion escabeche, garlic chips, sweet garlic aioli, and cilantro. Besides the shrimp enchilado with a plantain relish and avocado aioli, there's no other seafood sandwich on the menu. "We're doing a daily escabeche but didn't want to be heavy on fish because La Camaronera is right down the street and they do what they do extremely well," he says.
Instead Cabrera is sticking to doing what he does extremely well and bringing something unique to the neighborhood. "We'll be doing a BBQ brunch sometime soon but much more American style but with some live Cuban music," he says.
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This will take place in the backyard patio that came with Little Bread, which is where you'll want to take your reubencito and boniato potato salad. "We want to turn the airstream into a bar."
For now though, you'll just have to settle for bringing your dominoes and drinking Biscayne Brewing on tap while chowing down on abuela's flan or guava pound cake with cream cheese frosting. Whatever you do though, don't forego the cremitas de leche topped with bacon and sea salt. "It's like fudge with evaporated milk." Whatever it is, it's effing delicious. Much like everything else at Little Bread.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha