Sunday, September 13, 2009

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A Taste of Miami: Versailles

When I was younger I used to pass by this restaurant called Versailles. I always thought it was such a beautiful restaurant; the outside looks like an Italian villa. I would ask my mom if we could go eat there and she always said no. Her reasoning? The restaurant was too nice and my sister and I didn't know how to behave in a nice restaurant. As a result, I always thought Versailles was a fancy restaurant and only worthy enough of going to when I learned some proper table side manners. Imagine my surprise when I went there recently and it looked like a cafeteria on the inside. I was laughing hysterically and Alex thought I lost my mind. My mom wouldn't take me to this!? The dining area doesn't match the outside. Sure, there are signs of opulence like the crystal chandeliers and the glass walls, but the dining area is lined with tables and green chairs that make you feel like you are back in your high school's cafeteria. What was my mom thinking??? Were we that bratty of kids that she honestly thought she couldn't take us there? I felt duped!

Versailles is your traditional Cuban restaurant. A Miami establishment that has lined 8th Street for years and years. Their menu is loaded with Cuban goodies. Beware though...the menus are in Spanish. Or at least the menus we got were in Spanish. Since this was a late night meal, we took it easy. We munched on the toasted Cuban bread, which is always my favorite part of dining at Cuban restaurants because the bread is soaked in some kind of garlic butter.

We both ordered a vanilla shake. My favorite shakes on the planet are at Cuban restaurants. The shakes are creamy, silky, and not difficult to drink. I absolutely hate shakes that require you to squeeze out your brain as you try to suck up the sweets. What I love the most is that you don't feel full from these shakes.

We shared an appetizer platter that included chicken and spinach croquetas, empanadas, fried yuca, and fried plantains served with a mojo sauce. The croquetas were just as you'd expect them to be, a crisp breading layer on the outside and a ground, mashed up filling on the inside. The empanadas were my favorite. The outside layer is pastry dough and the inside was ground up meat. I'm usually not a fan of yuca (in Cuban food, it is used almost as much as potatoes) because I think it's too tough, but I actually liked these. I think frying them softened them up a bit. The fried plantains were great and tasted even better with the mojo sauce. Virtually everything on this dish could have been dipped in the mojo suace because the sauce was mild tasting with a hint of citrus. I just realized that everything on this platter is fried. Oops. Maybe we didn't take it that easy ;-)

Versailles is located at 3555 SW 8th Street and is extremely affordable.


Alexandria said...

I can't believe you had never been to this place. What's funny too is how even though it looks like a cafeteria inside, the waiters are still all dressed up. And you also see the old Cuban couples there in their dressy clothes. You missed out on the best food though. Definitely go back and try the Arroz con Pollo or the Arroz Imperial.

The Gourmet On A Diet said...

You know I lived there for eight years and never went? Ah, but I just bought some Cuban coffee and a stove-top espresso machine to make my own coladas. Too bad I can't handle my caffeine! Just a taste...