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Cuban cafe welcome on a restaurant-poor stretch of Clybourn.

Our Review

Alberto and Christine Gonzalez’s 90 Miles Cuban Cafe—a reference to the distance between Cuba and Florida—is an island oasis on a highly traveled but restaurant-poor section of the Clybourn corridor. Given their efforts to offer pressed sandwiches for all tastes—tofu (gasp!), a vegetable version, and grilled cheese are available—the Gonzalezes aren’t likely to silence purists’ debates over the nuances of the iconic pressed ham, cheese, and roast pork cubano or medianoche (the same ingredients, on sweet bread). But Alberto—whose family ran a pre-Castro catering business before hopping the Mariel boat lift—knows the fundamentals. If his takes on the classics are perhaps a bit too stuffed to always ensure a thorough melting and melding of cheese, meat, and mustard, they’re as good as anyone’s and better than a few. He’s also an expansionist, adding the timba (guava and cheese), the plantain steak sandwich guajirito (essentially a jibarito with cheese, hold the mayo), a plantain-layered lechon combo, and a gut-busting ham croqueta with grilled onions and Swiss. It’s impressive that such a tiny spot—counter seating only—can turn out such an array so well, including full dinner plates and specials such as rice and black bean congris, sides like fried yuca, sweet or green plantains, and papas rellenas, plus tropical fruit shakes and de rigueur Cuban coffee. Everything’s house made except the pastries, which are shipped frozen from Miami and baked on the premises. The one sweet exception—and 90 Miles’s secret weapon—is the budin de pan, raisin-studded bread pudding thriftily made from the leftover Turano sandwich bread.

Mike Sula

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Price: $
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

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