De Rodriguez Cuba, Miami Beach: Best Taco Appetizer

Smoked marlin tacos, the highlight of the meal.
Smoked marlin tacos, the highlight of the meal.

Having been invited to dine at De Rodriguez Cuba during Art Basel, and having to postpone the invitation, we made it to dinner earlier this week. De Rodriguez Cuba is located in the Hilton Bentley, all the way at the southern end of Miami Beach. The upside to (a) the location and (b) a Tuesday night before Christmas and New Years, is that parking is easy. 

The restaurant was quiet, with only a few other tables taken, and I had the big decision of sitting inside versus outside. Normally, a no-brainer, I would

Inside the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant.

take outside all the time, but it was a bit chilly (you know, for Florida), but I decided to brave the 70-degree-and-windy elements and enjoy the view of the pool. The wine list is servicable, and FKGuy enjoyed the Ramon Bilbao Albarino and I enjoyed the Puro Uno red blend (both available by the glass). There is also an extensive selection of interesting sounding cocktails.

Heirloom tomato and avocado salad... fresh and delicious.
Heirloom tomato and avocado salad… fresh and delicious.

But how is the food? So glad you asked… it is excellent. In fact, it was better than expected. As with all things South Beach, I tend to temper my expectations. No need in this case. I started with the heirloom tomato and avocado salad, and aside from perhaps a tad too much fresh oregano, it was wonderful. Many tomato salads are sadly lacking seasoning, but not here. The coarse salt lent perfect flavor to the tomatoes and the avocado. FKGuy started with the shrimp ceviche, served with (slightly under seasoned, but still delicious) tostones. The fried, smashed plantains were perfect for sopping up extra sauce.

I think we have all become accustomed to seared tuna served, essentially, raw over the last few years. Here, it is skewered onto sugar cane and served medium rare, yet still retains wonderful flavors. The kobe beef meatballs served in a creamy mushroom sauce (this is an appetizer) were really, really good. But the star of the entire evening were the smoked marlin tacos (also an appetizer). The fish is smoked, marinated in rum and made into a fish dip-style filling for malanga shells. The root vegetable is

Seared tuna, served medium rare.
Seared tuna, served medium rare.

thinly sliced and fried into the shape of a taco shell. I admit that I was a little afraid of how large the portion would be when I ordered the 5 taco plate (the other option was 10 tacos, so I figured this would be more reasonable). Each taco is about two bites – or one, if you open really wide – of smoky, crunchy yumminess topped with a slice of hot pepper. I am pretty sure I could eat those little tacos every day and never get sick of them.

De Rodriguez Cuba is located in the Hilton Bentley at 101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, and is open every day for lunch and dinner. Have you been there? What did you think?

 

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