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Friday, September 10, 2010

San Francisco's Best Cuban Sandwiches

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 12:50 PM

The Cuban cubano from Paladar. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • The Cuban cubano from Paladar.
Regular readers of SFoodie know we crush on Cuban sandwiches harder than a Log Cabin Republican lusts after Marco Rubio. Doesn't matter what style the Cuban: local transplants of South Florida's originals, bistro versions cracking the $10 price ceiling, even the Mission's hot-dog-stuffed torta cubanas. Behold nine of San Francisco's finest, which we've graded in descending order of deliciousness. Reviews filed by Jonathan Kauffman (JK) and John Birdsall (JB).

Paladar Cafe Cubano: 329 Kearny (at Pine), 398-4899.

Style: Cuban cubano

Cost: $9

Grade: A

Owner Rita Abraldes models her sandwich after the cubanos she grew up with in New York, with one exception: the bread. Abraldes uses a baguette-like loaf, denser than the original. She rubs Niman Ranch pork with a mojo of garlic, oregano, and citrus juices, then slow-roasts it. Cooked garlic perfumes the sandwich, and the meat is moistened with a little mayonnaise ― heresy to the purists, Abraldes adds. She's happy to make it without. JK

click to enlarge Ironside's bistro-ready Cuban. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Ironside's bistro-ready Cuban.
Ironside: 680A Second St. (at Townsend), 896-1127.

Style: Cuban-Cali bistro hybrid

Cost: $12

Grade: B+

Chef Bob Cina drives the cubano right up to the border of ethereal. Mostly it's the airy roll, compressed on the griddle into a crisp sheath for super-thin slices of ham and pork, pickles, Gruyère, and aïoli with the smoky-sweet burr of pimentón. JB

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