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Don Carlin Does Cuban Out West

A lunchtime plate of steak palomilla with rice, black beans, and tostones costs just $6.99 at Don Carlin Cuban Restaurant. The steak is thin and cooked on the griddle till it chars nicely, then topped with a mix of cooked Spanish onion and raw diced red onion, bell pepper, and scallion. The plate came with fried plantains, which I subbed out for crunchy tostones slathered in green garlic sauce, and a cup of black beans to pour over rice that were enhanced with tomato and culantro.

Eating this lunch in the busy, sun-lit dining room felt like I was

in a small Cuban café in Miami. But Don Carlin is way out west in Broward, near Sawgrass Mills Mall. Area workers filtered in for filling lunch specials, none more than $8.99. That price was for rabo encendido, stewed oxtail served with rice. The lunch menu also listed platos Cubanos mas tipico such as maso de puerco (garlic-marinated fried pork chunks), ropa vieja, and a nicely pressed Cuban sandwich that cost less than five bucks. I'll have to try that Cubano next time I'm at Don Carlin. Some of the same bread used to make it is made hot and crisp on a sandwich press and shows up at each table in a bread basket -- that alone was awesome stuff.

Don Carlin Cuban Restaurant

11447 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise 33323

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John Linn

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