Photo by Debra Brissette - Back to Cuba Cafe
Celia Cruz…the iconic “Reina de la Salsa” (Queen of Salsa) would be proud. Back to Cuba Cafe is authentic Cuban cuisine. Anyone who has had the privilege of being raised in a diverse Caribbean neighborhood is familiar with the traditional Cuban staple. A typical meal includes rice, black beans, stewed or marinated meat or fish, salad, platanos (plantain), root vegetable such as yucca, and crusty French bread. Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. Back to Cuba in Nashville brings one back to that old neighborhood. And let’s not forget the coffees—café con leche y café Cubano.
There is nothing fancy here. The building is cinderblock and brick. Seating is small (approximately 8 tables plus two outside). Cuban memorabilia and the sounds of Cuban style music surround you. Orders are taken at the counter. No menus here. Just look, ask, and order.
Your eyes and ears are not deceiving you….the dessert display is calling your name…. arroz con leche (authentic rice pudding with raisins), tres leche ( a moist three milk cake with a lightly sweetened cream style frosting), flan, (light caramel custard) and pudin de pan (dense, thick bread pudding). Desserts are baked fresh daily. Though we are struggling during these hard economic times, It is worth the fuel expense to travel for a slice of dessert and authentic Cuban Coffee. Café con leche is made with sweetened espresso and steamed milk. It is bold, hot, creamy, and sweetened just right. (Traditionally, when preparing Cuban style coffees, the espresso is sweetened with sugar during the brewing process.)
The menu selection consists of main dishes, specials, appetizers, Cuban sandwiches and more. The main dishes are a healthy sized portion. Cuban sandwiches are prepared daily with fresh baked bread. Fricase de pollo is a simple chicken dish made with a mild Creole seasoned sauce, yellow rice, sweet plantains (platanos) and a salad. The salad is simple, crisp, and infused with nice flavor. The salad is served with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and a house dressing consisting of olive oil and pepper. Tasteful simplicity. Lechon asado (roasted pork) is cooked with onions, rice, beans, yucca (starchy tropical tuber vegetable), and mojo sauce. (Mojo sauce is traditionally used as a base seasoning with many dishes. The basic ingredients are olive oil, garlic, onions, salt, pepper, oranges, limes, cilantro and spices.) This dish is absolutely delicious and traditional. Papa rellenas (stuffed potatoes) are a must have. It is a stuffed mashed potatoes mixture with seasoned meat then fried golden brown. This appetizer is packed with flavor. The empanadas (turnover filled with chicken or beef) could use more filling but is well seasoned and fried to a golden perfection. Fish is available in addition to daily specials. Don’t forget the sweet, golden, moist plantains. Try a crispy fried version of the plantain called tostones. Both versions are authentic and delicious.
Fresh and tasty juices are served. The selection entails tamarindo, mango, guanaban, guava, mora, and kiwi. No alcohol is served. You may bring you own wine. A corkage fee will apply.
Nashville is engaging in a new international renaissance. The opportunity to savor dishes from abroad has heightened in our metropolis. Don’t you love America?
4683 Trousdale Drive (Corner of Harding)
Nashville, TN 37204
Tuesday – Saturday
11:00 am – 9:00 pm