Dinner at Versailles
Versailles Restaurant in Miami, that is. We spent last week with friends in South Beach, just relaxing on the beach, people watching, and eating very well. Versailles is located in Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, known as Calle Ocho. Just like it’s palatial namesake, the restaurant is enormous and the elaborately decorated interior is painted gold and white and covered with mirrors. The similarities end there however. The restaurant is packed daily with with big groups of locals and tourists who come for the great food and lively atmosphere.
I began with a bowl of Cuban style Ajiaco Soup, the day’s special. It was nothing like the Colombian version of this soup that I have eaten before, made with chicken and potatoes. Cuban Ajiaco was thick with pureed tropical vegetables including sweet yam, manioc and cassava, plus corn, potatoes, plantains, dried beef and chunks of pork. It was slightly sweet and completely delicious.
My friends had the Caldo Gallego, white bean soup made with a rich porky broth, perfectly cooked white beans and chunks of pork. Two great soups, hearty and satisfying. I couldn’t decide which I liked better.
For the main course, I had to have the roast pork. An enormous plate of tender pork arrived, topped with thin rings of pickled white onions. The pork melted in my mouth, and the onions were a crisp counterpoint to the rich meat. This was accompanied by a slab of what I call pork candy — crackling crisp pork skin. A mountain of black beans and rice, known as moros, and fried sweet plantains were part of the deal. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water. I loved it and only wish I could have eaten more. As it was, I was sad to leave without trying the flan and homemade ice creams made from tropical fruits. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. I’ve got to go back again soon.