Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine, at 1250 on the quiet and charming block of Library Street in downtown, is an unexpected and absolutely fantastic surprise in the midst of the Motor City.
So much more than a restaurant, this beautifully decorated eatery feels as though it was plucked straight from the streets of Havana. The open dining room is bright and full of energy, with huge pieces of art hugging the walls and perfectly set white-linen tables. The yellow paint is warm and summery, providing a much-needed relief from the mean and sometimes cold streets of Detroit.
Setting up shop in the back of the place is a dance floor – to which the adventurous and spirited venture on the weekends to salsa dance. Basic lessons are given on Friday and Saturday nights at 11 to get the party started, and music is blasted for the remainder in order to put your moves to the test.
According to their website, owner and creator Vicente Vazquez has put his recipes of family favorites at the forefront of his inherited menu. And said menu certainly knows what it’s doing. There are sandwiches, poultry, meat or seafood platters, paella, tapas, soups, salads, desserts, and everything between.
Tapas, which are small appetizer-style plates meant to be ordered in bulk and shared with all, are one of the best features on Vicente’s unique and ultra-flavorful menu. They offer everything from steamed mussels to goat cheese with fresh tomatoes to empanadas. The “Papas Rellenas” are mashed potatoes stuffed with beef, balled up, breaded and fried. Mmmm.
The “Crema de Langosta” or lobster bisque is so rich and creamy; be sure to get the bowl size and extra spoons. It’s a perfect complement to the house bread that comes to every table upon arrival, accompanied by its delicious sidekick of seasoned butter.
There are also several meatless options for those vegetarians (although this menu might have the power to convert), including a sandwich, a paella dish, and a tapa.
And don’t even think about trying all of this authentic Cuban tastiness without ordering some of their famous sangria. Offered in red or white varieties, there is nowhere in Detroit that even comes close to hitting the high notes that this classic cocktail lands. (Their happy hour is a good time to sample.)
If indulging is on your agenda, Vicente’s provides the perfect venue: eat your heart out then dance your tush off. This is definitely one of the hottest and most unique spots in Motown.