If you live in Jacksonville, you're probably aware that the San Marco area has an overwhelming number of really good restaurants. A recent addition to their restaurant scene is The Black Bean Cuban Cuisine Restaurant. The Black Bean is located in the old Moe's storefront on San Marco Boulevard, and I must say it is a much better fit. Surprisingly, the Black Bean has been flying under the radar since it's open, and was only recently featured in a Times Union Review. My suggestion: head to San Marco for some excellent Cuban food immediately.
The Black Bean is definitely a casual dining experience. They offer a chalkboard menu, counter ordering, self service drinks, and stand-up order numbers for your table (similar to Mama Fu's). Because this obviously cuts down on overhead, the prices at the Black Bean are as good as the food. There is also the fact that the original Black Bean restaurant is located in Tallahassee, and got it's start catering to both South Florida transplants who know what Cuban food should taste like, and broke college kids who want the best cash to food ratio available.
A visit to the Black Bean should definitely include whatever on the menu strikes your fancy - everything is wonderful and this is not the time nor location to limit yourself! The Tostones side ($3) comes with five pieces of fried goodness that are large and delicious - surely how plantains are meant to be served. The Black Beans and Rice side ($3) is absolutely perfect, making sharing the dish more than difficult. The best menu item at the Black Bean however, is their pressed Cuban Sandwich ($7). The Black Bean's Cuban Sandwich is what all Cuban Sandwiches should be - toasted, melty, sweet, savory, and simply mouth-watering. The Roasted Pork is perfectly marinated, tender, and more hunks of meat than winky slices. The Sweet Ham and Swiss Cheese that the Black Bean uses are amazing and complement each other wonderfully. Add the mustard, pickles, and fresh Cuban Bread, and you have a contender for best sandwich in Jacksonville!
The Black Bean is a restaurant that deserves more attention. Surely after one visit, you'll be hooked as well. Casual dining and excellent food deserve a shot in the restaurant scene here. Not to mention that we need to keep this place going as great Cuban food is hard to come by! So please visit the Black Bean - you'll be glad you did. They are located at:
2004 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207-3214