There have been plenty of attempts to fancy up Cuban cuisine. There's the overrated Versailles, and the Cabana restaurants in West Palm and Delray do a good Cuban-Caribbean fusion.
But the truth is, a fine ropa vieja can be found at lunch-counter Cuban joints, like Las Colinas, a Wilton Manors restaurant that does a brisk lunch business out of its takeout window.
You won't get Versailles-style circumstance here -- just simple Cuban dishes served on plastic plates. The glass tabletops hide the huge
menus underneath, and the lunch counter faces the tiny, open kitchen.
the ropa vieja ($6.95) comes with a thin and somewhat oily gravy, but
the flavor shows it has been simmered long till tender. The chicken
salteado ($8.95) is lightly seasoned, mostly with just salt and the
well-cooked peppers and onions covering it. The maduros are sautéed
until the edges of the sweet plantains become carmelized and crisp.
Colinas does a brisk business for its pressed sandwiches, which include
a half-dozen varieties of Cubans. But it's probably best-known for the
breakfasts (it won Best Cheap Breakfast from New Times
in 2004), which scans the gamut of the Americas, from huevos rancheros
to eggs with chorizo. With a coffee on the side, the breakfast still
rings up at $5 or less -- the kind of prices we should expect for good
2724 N. Andrews Ave., Wilton Manors