Advertisement

Chicken Little Reviews: The Lost Cuban


The Lost Cuban
The Lost Cuban’s plate of lechon asado with platanos maduros. — photo by Adam Burke

Since 2012, The Lost Cuban in Cedar Rapids has been consistently serving flavorful Cuban favorites, garnering well-deserved buzz along way.

The restaurant’s dining room is colorful and clean, free from the clutter of knickknacks. Customers order at the register, and friendly, helpful servers bring the food out to the table when it’s ready (which doesn’t take long).

The Lost Cuban
The Lost Cuban, located at 209 3rd St. S.E. in Cedar Rapids. — photo by Adam Burke

The menu offers sandwich fare, including the ever-popular, hot-pressed Cuban sandwich (an Iowan’s dream of pork, cheese, mustard and pickles), and entree-style dishes, such as the ropa vieja (steak in a tomato-based sauce, though a vegetarian version is also available), served over rice with a choice of side and a fountain drink. They also sell a variety of Cuban sodas. And after the main meal, those of us needing a sweet fix can choose between flan or tres leches cake for dessert.

On recommendation from the staff, I tried the lechon asado, pulled pork that is marinated for three days in mojo seasoning—a combination of sour orange, lemon, lime and herbs—then slowly steam-roasted for another eight hours. The pork was heavenly—so tender and flavorful.

My entree came with a choice of plantains or yuca—a starchy, tuberous root simmered with garlic and onions—on the side. I went with the yuca and boy, am I glad I did. My epicurean guide brought me out some sauces to top the side dish: a sweet and mildly spicy sauce with pineapple and cilantro, and the “medium spice” sauce that is made from smoked jalapeño and smoked habañero. I like heat in my food, and this sauce was hot enough to make the roof of my mouth tingle a bit, while still retaining the smoky flavor that truly adds to the food. He explained that their hottest sauce, which they call the “Cuban Missile Crisis,” was not available at the time, because they have not yet grown the ghost peppers that go into the sauce. Also, I was told that they do not serve the sauce in the small to-go containers like the other sauces, because it eats through the two ounce plastic cups. This seems a little hard to believe, but it certainly piqued my interest.

review-bar

Lost Cuban serves exactly the kind of food I want to eat as the weather begins to improve—still warm and comforting, but with bright, citrusy notes that cause my taste buds to go from six to midnight. I think for the quality of the food, the $10 price I paid was a bargain. And  while utensils, plates and cups at the Lost Cuban are all disposable, I could imagine the same food being served in a much more formal atmosphere.

I’m excited to go back and try an empanada—they are made fresh for each order. I’d also like to find someone to split their Cuban burger with me (apparently it’s usually too big of an undertaking for one person). It’s a double patty made from meat that they grind themselves and served with at least two different homemade sauces. And while I’m not sure I’ll ever find myself in Cedar Rapids for breakfast, if I did, I would order a Cuban espresso and some guava and cream cheese-filled pastelitos (pastries).

The Lost Cuban also offers catering services. Frankly, I can’t think of anything better for a graduation party or summer gathering. The food practically screams for a fresh mojito or an ice-cold beer to accompany it as you dine al fresco under the twinkling lights in your backyard. Which leads me to my lone scruple: Why is this not in Iowa City?!

Love food? Kind of a chicken?
Send restaurant review pitches to: Editor@LittleVillageMag.com.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 175


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

40 Years Forward:

A Celebration of Empowerment & Hope

Deb Talan of "The Weepies" will begin our night of celebration with a story of survival, empowerment, and hope told through words and song. Join us in remembering our past and envisioning the future at the Coralville Mariott.

GET TICKETS

Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.

Advertisement

A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene

STRENGTHEN
GROW•EVOLVE

Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

Little Village's
BEST OF THE CRANDIC

From Aug. 1-Sept. 30, cast your vote for your favorite places, people, eats and entertainment around the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.

Don't forget to explain your picks! The best answers will be published in LV's Best of the CRANDIC issue, out Dec. 3, 2019.