925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s is a no-frills Cuban eatery with a laid back vibe, tasty foods, and enough character to make you feel like you’re back home in the Caribbean. Customers order up hearty meals, sandwiches, delicious smoothies, and arguably the tastiest cortadito (coffee) this side of town, right from the sidewalk. For 925 proprietor Luis Valdes Jr., “the most important thing is the food.”
A Refreshing Welcome
As soon as I arrived, I was offered coffee, which as a non-coffee drinker, I automatically declined, opting instead for a smoothie. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a full pineapple, which was hollowed out to host the cool strawberry flavored drink. It was beautifully garnished with pineapple slices.
To start, I chose the ultra-traditional Cuban Sandwich, which was loaded with moist pulled pork, thick-cut ham, cheese, and pickles on Cuban bread. It looked delicious, so I went all-in and was reminded of why I love a good sandwich. My server recommended the Cuban Burger and it turned out to be the highlight of my afternoon. Unlike a typical burger, the meat was exceptionally well-seasoned, and it was served in the style of a Cuban sandwich—on pressed, toasted Cuban bread, accompanied by shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise.
Palomilla Steak Sandwich
By then, I knew I shouldn’t have
another morsel, but couldn’t resist the owner’s invitation to share a
Palomilla Steak sandwich with him. It was served on a soft, sweet bread
with tender, succulent steak as the star. Chef Gloria, Luis Jr.’s
maternal aunt who has worked there for 20 years, would not let me leave
without sampling their oxtail, and I am glad I did! The flavor, with a
dominant tomato base, is completely different from the Jamaican style
I’m used to, but is equally delicious. And the meat—tender, juicy, and
falls right off the bone. While none of the dishes I tried were peppery
hot, they all had a unique Caribbean spiciness.
Although I’m not a coffee lover, I found that there were customers who came by every day just for the coffee. I had to try it. It was simply amazing! Completely full, I took my dessert, Tres Leches, to go. I was blown away by the light oatmeal-like texture and pleasant sweetness.
With a history as rich as its cuisine, 925 has been a staple in Fort Lauderdale since 1976 when Cuban-born Luis Valdes Sr. bought the 1925 property as the family’s home, and began selling food there. As a young man, he smuggled himself into the United States on a cargo ship, and after several deportations, was able to secure U.S. residency. He was drafted to serve in Vietnam, then later moved to Miami where he worked in the hotel industry. That’s when he met his wife and had two sons, Luis Jr. and Noel. Luis Jr. now owns and operates 925 with his son, Luis Valdes III.
At this family-owned and operated eatery, they took care of me like family, and the food was nothing short of spectacular. This rustic restaurant has definitely made my list.
Visit 925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s at 925 N Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311. And tell them Island Origins sent you.