BARACOA CUBAN RESTAURANT
ADDRESS: 853 Auto Center Drive, Suite F, Palmdale, CA 93551
I think that it was on one of my business trips out to the Palmdale area when I first saw Baracoa Cuban Restaurant while driving up 10th Street W. Because it is the only Cuban spot I know of in Palmdale, I was interested enough to add it to my Google Maps list and give it a try at some point.
Fast forward to now, when I’ve moved out to the area, and my friend Hoang and I were talking about grabbing dinner one night after work. Both of us were wanting to try Baracoa, so it turned out to be an easy decision on where we’d be headed.
The inside dining area was smaller than I thought it would be when looking from the outside, but the place could still seat probably around 35 – 40 people. The crowd was a bit lighter when we stopped in on a Wednesday night, but I have heard that it can get pretty busy during the peak weekend mealtime. The interior décor definitely gave off a bit of an urban feel to it, with the brick wall overlay, dark wooden furniture, and granite countertop bar. It seemed like a casual setting, but could also lean towards the “business casual” atmosphere as well.
On the menu, you’ll find a good selection between the appetizers, sandwiches, entrées, and side dishes. Whether you were in the mood for meat, seafood, or vegetables, there is something for you. Hoang and I decided that we wanted to get a good sampling of the various proteins that they offered, so we got a nice mix between the appetizer and our entrées.
For our appetizer, we decided to go with the Tapas Cubanas, which were three tostones topped with a choice of protein. We went with the camaron, which was sautéed shrimp with onions, bell peppers, and zucchini all tossed in a spicy Creole sauce. We also ordered the Ropa Vieja and Lechon Asado entrées, with the thought that the beef and pork dishes would pair nicely together. To help round things off, we got a side order of the Mojo Fries, which were their French fries tossed in a garlic-lime mojo sauce.
During my time living in Melbourne, FL, there was a Cuban spot in downtown that I liked to hit up from time to time. So after moving out here to the Palmdale area, I will say that it was pretty nice to be able to find a place to pick up some Cuban food once again.
We were told by our waiter, David, that the tostones for the Tapas Cubanas would take a little bit of extra time to get them fried up. With that, we were okay with all of the dishes arriving to the table at once. When the appetizer did arrive and we saw how much of the shrimp and vegetables were loaded on top, it was definitely going to be a fork-and-knife affair. The tostone was fried nice and crispy, providing a nice texture contrast to the vegetables and shrimp. The Creole sauce really helped provide a good smoky and spicy flavor to each overall bite itself as well.
Moving on to the sampling of both the lechon and the ropa vieja, I have to say that I preferred the lechon. The roast pork had really good savory and umami flavor, accentuated by the grilled onions as well as the garlic-lime sauce that was also added to the meat. The ropa vieja also had some good savory flavor as well, with a slight sweetness picked up from being braised in tomato sauce. The grilled onions and peppers also complemented the shredded beef well, too. But choosing between the two for the future, I’d go with the lechon as an entrée plate. (I think I’d prefer the ropa vieja in its sandwich form instead.)
There’s no question that this is a good spot to try out some Cuban flavors in the local area. Everything that I tried seemed to line up with the flavors that I had while back in Florida. There’s also a pretty good selection between the different types of dishes that can help you change things up if you’re back for subsequent visits. The only real knock that I have is on the pricing of the food, which is set a bit higher than I thought it should be. But the food quality and flavors I think are still worth paying up the extra. If you’re looking for Cuban flavors, then look no further.
Let’s now take a look at the Baracoa Cuban Restaurant Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Tapas Cubanas, with Camaron **
Three tostones topped with camaron (sautéed shrimp with onions, bell peppers, and zucchini all tossed in a spicy Creole sauce).
** Mojo Fries **
French fries tossed in a garlic-lime mojo sauce.
** Lechon Asado **
Roasted pork topped with a garlic-lime sauce and grilled onions. Served with plantains, rice, pickled red onions, and black beans (not pictured).
** Ropa Vieja **
Shredded beef with sofrito, bell peppers, and onions, all braised in a white wine tomato sauce. Served with plantains, rice, pickled red onions, and black beans (not pictured).
And finally, here are my rankings for Baracoa Cuban Restaurant:
Food: 4.5 / 5
The quality of the food was great and the array of different options available on the menu were plentiful. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of flavor from the camaron on the Tapas Cubanas and appreciated the hearty flavors from the lechon asado.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
The large windows in the dining room let in plenty of bright light, and I did enjoy that slightly urban feel to the interior with a lot of the modern décor touches. Even if there were more people packed into the dining room, I don’t think that the noise level would have been too much to detract from your experience, either.
Service: 4 / 5
I thought our waiter, David, did a good job to welcome us in and check up on us throughout the meal itself. He was very courteous and professional throughout our entire meal.
Price: 3.25 / 5
Both of the entrées were priced at $23, but I thought that they should have been closer to $18 or $19. The appetizer was $17 when I thought it should have been closer to $14. The expensive pricing of the food was really the only negative observation of our experience.