Cuba de Ayer, Burtonsville, MD

At some point, I’d love to do a back-to-back comparison of Rockville’s Cuban Corner with Burtonsville’s Cuba de Ayer, both of which I’d only been to once (before tonight).

It had been a few years since I’ve been here, but for the second straight time, Cuba de Ayer didn’t disappoint. We were very lucky to snare a table for six here on short notice during a busy Saturday night.

Not deterred by being the only non-teetotaler in the bunch, I nursed an El Presidente ($3.95) while waiting for the appetizers, Croquetas de Jamón ($4 for 4), two Beef Empanadas ($2.25 each), and two Cheese Empanadas ($2.25 each).

The beef empanadas were clearly better than the cheese which, to both of the seasoned palates at the table (Matt and me), seemed to contain Swiss – this might make sense because Cuba de Ayer serves a Cuban sandwich, but it just doesn’t work in an empanada. The croquetas were potato-driven and worth ordering.

For my entree, I ordered a daily special of Arroz con Pescado ($16.99), and it was plentiful and wonderful – saffron-flavored yellow rice cooked with bite-sized cubes of firm whitefish (not sure what type, but it worked). For my choice of plantains, I got the Tostones, and I’m glad I did although others at the table were raving about their Platanos Maduros.

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