Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review of Pambiche Restaurant a Cuban Om Nom


Where: 2811 NE Glisan Street (map);
(503) 223-1729; Cuisine: Cuban-Creole Cuisine
Prices: Plato Cubano (typical Cuban plate) $16.50
Breakfast Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 am–2:00 pm
Lunch Hours: Weekdays 11:00 am–5:00 pm; Weekends 2:00 pm–5:00 pm
Dinner Hours: Sunday-Thursday until 10:00 pm; Friday/Saturday until midnite)
Notes: For a break from bacon and eggs try the “Desayuno Cubano” Cuban breakfast. It’s available Saturday & Sunday 8 am until 2 pm but be prepared to wait in line, this is muy popular!
Most of us Portlandians will never have the chance to visit the amazing country of Cuba to dine in the land of Che, but I have the perfect solution to this culinary dilemma. Pambiche restaurant is located near the corner of NE 28th and Glisan and if you are bad with directions, don’t worry you can’t miss it! Styled after the buildings in Latin America, Pambiche’s home is a brightly colored homage to its homeland.
The interior of the restaurant continues the experience with brightly colored walls filled with owners John Maribona and Hadita Salinas-Pereya's personal collection of latin paintings and sculpture.

I had my first Pambiche meal over 10 years ago, and have yet to try everything on their menu. I am loyal to their signature offering of the Plato Cubano consisting of a generous helping of adobo rubbed, slow cooked pork surrounded by yucca, a cup of frijoles colorado (red beans) and Moros y Cristianos (white rice with black beans. In my mind this dish is not complete until I get my side order of maduros(fried ripe plantains) which in all truth is the main item that lures me back to Pambiche time and time again!om nom nom nom! but I digress...because I am such a creature of habit I have decided to review a dish I have always wanted to try but had eluded me, the "Rabo Ecendido" or Oxtail on Fire!

In an effort to be an unbiased reviewer of this restaurant, I must divulge that John and Hadita are like family and Hadita's mother is my mom's best friend (pictured: Ada Pereya and Hadita Salinas-Pereya l-r). There have been numerous occasions that a care package containing a mixture of their delicious croquettes or empanadas has landed on our doorstep, but I give you my Om Nom Latina word (or for spanish speakers my palabra) this in no way will disuade me from telling it like it is! o.k. now that we got that out of the way back to the oxtail....

According to John, this dish is his homage to southern barbecue. The oxtail comes piled high on a platter covered in a rich Creole red wine sauce with a side of white rice and plenty of chiles de arbol to represent the "fire" part of the dish. You can try to be ladies and gentlemen and eat this dish with a fork, but om nom Latina encourages you to get "all up in it." Once you pick up your oxtail and take your first bite, be prepared to involuntarily and audibly "om nom nom!". The mixture of eight different spices ranging from chiles,cumin and fresh parsley and the red wine start off with a rich mild taste in your mouth building up to the chili hot. You will be tempted to just eat the oxtails but be sure to sop up the sauce with the fresh homemade bread to experience the sauce on its own.

Though I don't usually recommend complicating matters by adding appetizers or desserts to a meal so rich in flavor I am going to break my rule and recommend two stand outs. To accompany your oxtails you MUST order the ensalada de aguacate which is a mixture of fresh avacado, diced red onion in a dressing of olive oil and sour orange vinaigerret. This is the perfect dish to cool your mouth down and change your taste pallate before the next bite of spicy deliciousness.

For dessert my all time favorite is a slice of the Tres Leches cake. This cake is a Latin American favorite for special occasions like a birthday or anniversary. It is a light sponge cake that has a mixture of condensed and evaporated milk mixed in, filled with vanilla natilla and frosted with creme chantilly. Though it sounds like it may be way sweet it is actually quite light and a sweet end to a powerful meal.

Though there are a couple of food carts attempting to stake their claim in the Cuban food tierra, Pambiche stands alone as the place to go for the total Cuban dining experience: food, atmosphere and familia.

Buen Provecho!

Pambiche on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds awesome !

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