Wajiro's Restaurant Takes Cuban Cuisine Up A Notch

Categories: Review
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Cazuela de mariscos: Seafood stew
During our visit, a tourist visiting from South Carolina came over and professed to Otto after she was finished with her dinner, "I travel a lot; I've been around the world. This is the best pork dish I have ever had."

She was talking about the Masas de Puerco Wajiro ($9.95). Fried pork chunks are a staple at most Cuban restaurants, but at Wajiro's they are a culinary feat. Seasoned to perfection and so tender they practically fall apart, each savory chunk is a work of art. Served with caramelized onions and two side dishes, such as rice and fried plantains, the masas de puerco make a hearty meal for the discriminating eater with a traditional palate.

Another authentic dish is the cazuela de mariscos ($18.95 - $36), a tomato-based seafood stew chock full of shrimp, fish, and lobster, traditionally eaten with white rice and tostones aka fried green plantains.

As authentic as the Cuban dishes are, Perez has put his creative stamp on the new dishes, such as the Wajiyaki, pork chunks with a teriyaki glaze, served with yellow rice and fresh tomatoes topped with herbs, garlic, and cheese. There's also the Mar Habana Wajiro's ($19.95), which translates to "Havana Sea" but should translate to "Cuban Comfort Food." The Mar Habana consists of a layer of mashed potatoes, topped with a snapper filet, covered with shrimp and a creamy, cheese sauce. Yes, it's as good as it sounds.

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Wajikyaki: Cuban/Japanese pork chunks.
The Creative/Cuban hybrid that is Wajiro's menu stems from Chef Perez, but the name of the restaurant might have foretold of the creative cuisine to come. A guajiro is a Cuban redneck, a country bumpkin of you will. During the Cuban-Spanish war, when Cuba liberated itself from Spanish rule, the Cubans were "war heroes." So, the term wa-jiro was born, celebrating both the Cuban countryside and the brave soldiers who gave Cuba its independence from Spain.

Feeling the need to fortify ourselves, we've been back for lunch and dinner several times. The friendly and efficient service coupled with Wajiro's delectable edibles, will make you a believer. During the week, Wajiro's is an ideal spot for locals to have a low-key, yet delicious meal. On weekends the atmosphere becomes a bit livelier, with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want really good food and plenty of it, Wajiro's is your place.

Oh, and by the way -- don't leave without having the cortadito especial -- a delightful concoction of Cuban coffee with evaporated and condensed milk. Much like Wajiro's current manifestation, the cortadito especial is heavenly.

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Location Info


12670 SW 8th St., West Dade, FL

Category: Restaurant

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