Cedar Rapids has experienced, in the decade since the devastating floods of 2008, a comeback that is nothing short of amazing. It's safe to say, Cedar Rapids is back and better than ever. There is clearly a lot of momentum within the area.
Late last week, I was visiting a friend in Cedar Rapids and we decided to find a good local place to eat for dinner. As always, I prefer to eat at local restaurants.
My friend's suggestion? The Lost Cuban in downtown Cedar Rapids. And what a good suggestion it was.
We had tried to eat there a year or two ago on a Sunday, but it was closed. On this particular Thursday night, although it was bone-chillingly cold, it was open.
The Lost Cuban is situated among many downtown offices, businesses, and other restaurants. There is not a parking lot next to the building - so you'll need to find street parking or grab a spot in one of the downtown ramps.
They have an impressive menu of authentic Cuban cuisine and the interior decor to match the vibe. I imagine that during the week, it's a popular lunch place for those who work downtown.
The food was reasonably priced and it was quite delicious. I opted to get the Cuban sandwich and that was a good decision. Lots of places try to do their own version of a Cuban and though it's hard to screw up, these authentic joints seem know how to do it better.
My sandwich came with rice and black beans. However, since I do not like black beans, they gave me a little more rice. The rice was well seasoned and I added some very sweet condiment sauce that was available on the table. There was a milder sweeter version and then there was a hotter version, which was aptly named "GITMO".
I also ordered a side of plantains as well. If you have never had plantains, you are really missing out. They are in the same family as bananas. I would recommend going to a place like The Lost Cuban to try plantains for the first time, as they know exactly how to prepare them well.
Lastly, you cannot go to an authentic Cuban restaurant without trying their coffee. Cuban coffee is just a little different than the types of mainstream coffee you'd find at your local coffee shop up the street. It was well prepared and a good decision on an especially cold night.
I would encourage you to give The Lost Cuban a try and check out their Facebook page. I know they have different specials throughout the week.