The ambiance is replete with the sights, smells, and flavors that recreate the mood of Old Havana. From the old, but working, truck parked out front to the palm-lined walkway leading to the outside dining area, Cuban Pete’s Restaurant in Montclair, NJ will transport you a place that many still have yet to step foot on. Now there is some noise to contend with as if the environment itself actually awakens a festive, latin-fused energy in the diners. The flavors that Cuban Pete’s create are distinctively latin and bold and is the reason why it has become a mainstay in the area dubbed as Restaurant Row.
The space is probably the envy of the other restaurateurs and is quite charming with its tall windows and wooden family-style tables. Inspired art graces nearly every wall. As previously mentioned, there is a comfortable outside dining area, probably one of the few of that size and comfort in town.
The half, boneless chicken or Pollo Cubano, served with Cuban garlic mojo is a great choice. Its utter simplicity gives you a sense of how even the simplest of ingredients can be elevated when injected with Cuban soul. The Chulettas Asada, their very own pan-seared pork chops, and caramelized onions will have you wanting to use your hands. For the seafood lover, there is Enchilado – a spicy creole style jumbo shrimp dish. Of course for the meat lover, there is a marinated skirt steak and spicy chimichurri.
Keep in mind, Cuban Petes’ does not have a liquor license but, feel free to bring your favorite spirit to perk up any one of their red or white punches. Rum mixed with their Spanish Harlem is a hit as well as Malibu coconut rum with Armando’s Passion. Your new favorite acronym? BYOB.
For dessert, what else would you order but the Flan Cubano?? It’s truly the most decadent Cuban style caramel custard around. There is also Flan de Mango (translation unnecessary).
Cuban Pete’s gives you just enough of the island to leave you looking forward to your next visit or better still, your first visit to the largest island in the Caribbean.
Visit Cuban Pete’s on your own. For more information, go to cubanpetesrestaurant.com.