Victor’s 1959 Cafe 4/2/2014

After my last post, I couldn’t get this place out of my head.  It had been way too long since I went to Victor’s 1959 Cafe, so a return trip had to happen.  Victor’s is right in the middle of the Kingfield neighborhood, with residential buildings next door.  The place was actually originally a gas station that was converted to a restaurant and then eventually Victor’s in 1999, but it is known and loved by locals.

Venue:

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As I mentioned previously, Victor’s is a great foil to The Corner Table – instead of classed up local fare, this place goes full-on dive to serve up Cuban comfort food – but both deliver all kinds of deliciousness in their own right.

There’s a small patio in the front that’s great in the summer for brunch.  Inside, there are a handful of booths and a small bar.  Victor’s also conveniently offers reservations, if you’re worried their limited seating will be full when you want to go.  I arrived relatively early for dinner and being a weekday, I think that made me the first person there for the evening.  I’m pretty sure I was greeted by one of the owners, who was sitting at the bar and was very friendly.

Walking further in you can see that he walls and booths are covered in tags and notes from visitors over the years.  I think the eclectic decor puts you in exactly the right state of mind to enjoy what’s coming next.

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 Food:

Being the first one there, I was given a special surprise – the owner who greeted me at the door kindly decided to offer me a plate of fruit and avocado that the chef was experimenting with for a new menu item, which was a pretty awesome way to kick things off!  It was happy hour, so I also got a $4 tropical mimosa to start.  I chose the guanabana, which was described accurately as a cross between pear and pineapple.

Once my dining companions joined me, they ordered the other two flavors – mango and guava and ordered a couple of appetizers.  We decided on the crab cakes, which was a new menu item (they looked too good apparently because we were a little hasty to dig in, and I forgot to take a picture right away – oops!).  One of my companions is in love with the Cuban toast with guava jam, which is typically served for breakfast, but the server and chef were nice enough to let us order some with dinner, too.  Here’s the summary of what we had:

  • Tropical mimosas (guanabana, mango, and guava)
  • Complimentary fruit platter
  • Crab cakes – two crab cakes served with a cusabi sauce cucumber & wasabi & topped with diced mango fruit
  • Cuban style toast
  • Picadillo a la Cubana ordered with arroz amarillo- as seen on the food network, sauteed ground beef with green & red peppers green olives capers 7 raisins finished in our delicious creole sauce. served with fried sweet plantains as classic as my uncle’s 53 caddy in bejucal
  • Ropa vieja ordered with moros y cristianos – as seen on the food network, literally means “old clothes” this shredded flank steak is simmered in our own sherry spiked spanish red sauce with green & red peppers, garlic, onions & sweet green peas. served with fried sweet plantains. a walk in the mountains of the sierra maestra. (signature menu item)
  • Sandwich Cubano ordered with chorizo sausage and moros y cristianos – as seen on the food network, provdly serving our cuban sandwich sweet ham, pork loin swiss cheese mustard & pickles served with choice of yuca frita or small tropical salad add spanish chorizo sausage for 1.00. (signature menu item

So I didn’t remember this from my previous visits a long time ago, but the name for their black beans and white rice made me look twice.  Moros y cristianos literally means Moors and Christians and is a traditional and ubiquitous Cuban dish.  Each one of the entrees we ordered was also featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (the clip is also posted on the restaurant’s website).  I think Guy accurately describes the deliciousness that ensues with each bite.  I’ve also previously ordered a couple of their shrimp dishes with fried plantains, which were very tasty from memory.

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Each entree is about $10-15 and is easily enough on its own, so this is a great deal!  I think the picture below taken from the wall in our booth sums up our trip.
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