Step on out Buffalo and welcome Cuba Rosa Bar and Restaurant to the city – they deserve the warmest of welcomes.
Cuba Rosa is a charming family run restaurant on Pearl near Shea’s in what was most recently The District bar. Authentic Cuban food is what they serve. The space is dressed up in the back portion of the restaurant with a new tile floor, red and white tables all set for business with settings and glassware.
Rosa Correa Piloto is the owner who hails from Cuba as does much of her staff. She promises that everything is authentic and made to Cuban traditions.
The front bar space will feature a martini bar, authentic Cuban cocktails, and hopefully some island music once they get up to speed. Currently they are waiting on their liquor license from the nameless, faceless, overworked bureaucrats in Albany. We’d suggest you call and ask about BYOB.
Although the place is dead-center downtown in the Theater District, it is also a bit off the beaten path unless you’re going to see a show. You’re gonna need to go out and find this place. The Pilotos and company are going to need you to go find this place. Once you do find this place you won’t regret it.
We stopped in on a quiet Saturday for lunch. The place was a little more posh than I anticipated. While the bar set-up is in limbo, the dining area settings were ready for a feast, as were we. We sat and were immediately met by our server Marta who could not have more pleasant or helpful.
The menu includes plenty of seafood (like swordfish, whole red snapper, longosta [lobster]), roast pork, chicken, and beef. It is laced with all sorts of exciting island dishes. While the menu options are not running on all cylinders while they’re in startup mode, it was about 90% on our visit.
They brought us two ham and cheese empanadas as an amuse bouche. These were warm, perfectly crisp, and filled with flavor – good start.
This is the real deal people. Twice fried plantains that produce a curiously irresistible chip like dish. A cross between a banana and a potato, this preparation is much more starchy/potatoey than the sweet maduros.
Potaje de frijol negro (black beans) $3
Of course the beans only begin to describe this dish that is flavored with garlic, peppers, herbs and likely some pork. These were full of flavor and good for the heart too – don’t judge on how they look in a photo.
Side salad – a nice mixed salad properly dressed that was either a gift or come with something we ordered.
Media Noche (sandwich) – ham, roast shredded pork, sharp cheddar, pickles and mustard – $10
LOVED THIS. The Media Noche is really what I think of as a Cubano – ham with pork etc. grilled. As good of a “Cubano” as I’ve ever had and I spent 2 years in Miami. They have a Cubano on the menu that is different and probably great as well.
Ropa Vieja – slow roasted shredded beef with white rice and yucca – $12
This was really good, especially when paired with a bowl of beans.
Flan – $4
Terrific! Big, rich with a hint of almond. We ordered another three to take home if that gives you a hint as to how much we enjoyed it.
Cuba Rosa Bar and Restaurant
454 Pearl St, Buffalo, NY 14202
Hours: Mon- Sat 11 AM – 10 PM