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Beef & Brandy [Chicago]

Sigh, where do I  begin?

The atmosphere and set up of this restaurant was the best part of my entire dining experience. It is set up like Ruby Tuesdays. Like Ruby Tuesdays, it has a bar, a lot of dark wood, and pictures on the wall. I wouldn’t suggest going here for a romantic date, but if you must try it, go for a lunch outing or to catch the game. There was very casual, laid back atmosphere, which is something I enjoy when dining out with friends.

Upon sitting down, we were greeted by our server in a timely fashion. She didn’t seem to be very interested in serving us though. I observed how she interacted with her other tables, and she treated them a lot better. She was cheerful, and helpful. She checked on them regularly, and made sure their glasses were filled. When it came to our table, she never checked on us nor did she keep our glasses filled. She was quite dry and totally not energetic. That really bothered me, especially after observing how she interacted with her other tables. Then to top it off, she left and someone else picked  up our table. It took him forever to come to our table at first, but at least he was a bit more energetic and helpful.

I ordered the chicken sandwich. It was served on Cuban bread, and came with the regular garnishes, avocado and fries. I like Cuban bread, so I thought this sandwich was going to be really good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I hoped for. The chicken was tasteless. Not even my avocado could save this sandwich.  I don’t think they added any type of season to it nor did they marinate it. I had to order honey mustard to give it some type of flavor. The fries were good, but  it’s hard to mess that up. Overall the food was mediocre.

While visiting Chicago, I just knew that we wouldn’t eat anywhere bad, but this place definitely ruined that idea. To make matters worse, it was the first place we ate while in Chicago. Thankfully, none of the other restaurants we visited disappointed. I’ve mentioned before that I will always try a restaurant again, but I don’t really see myself trying this place again when I go back to visit. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. There are so many other great restaurants in Chicago to eat at, and this just isn’t one of them.

Ruben’s Cubans Cafe

This past weekend, my parents came to Tampa to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. On Saturday, we went to dinner at Ruben’s Cubans Cafe, which opened in 1986. This restaurant is located on Busch Blvd.

I like cafes and diners more than other types of restaurants. So, with that said, Ruben’s Cubans Cafe’s atmosphere was something I really appreciated and enjoyed.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t eat pork or beef. As usual, I was worried about finding something on the menu that I could eat. Fortunately, I found something and I found it quickly. I ordered the breaded grouper with yellow rice, plantanos and a side salad. The meals were also served with Cuban bread.

This was my first time trying grouper, and I was so pleased with the taste. It was well seasoned, breaded and fried. The yellow rice was fluffy and well-prepared. The plantanos were fresh and fried just right, which allowed it to be full of flavor. They were quite tasty! I am a huge bread eater. Needless to say, I indulged in the Cuban bread that was toasted and buttered perfectly. My side salad was pretty mediocre; there was nothing special about it at all. As my beverage, I ordered a cafe con leche. That was the best one I’ve ever had. When my parents lived in Tampa years ago, my Mom would always go to Ruben’s Cubans for a cafe con leche, and now, I see why. I will go on to admit that since I was not paying, I took full advantage of the situation. I ordered an explosion milkshake with Oreos and Nutter Butters for dessert. It was so good!!! It tasted nothing like the milkshakes you get at fast food restaurants; it was ten times better!

Our server’s name was Natalie. She was very helpful and attentive to us. She smiled and cleaned away our dishes in a timely manner. She checked on us often, but wasn’t overbearing. Her service was awesome! All of the employees seemed to be very keen and focused on servicing the customers.

Overall, Ruben’s Cubans Cafe is a pretty decent restaurant. The service was great. The food was good. I would recommend this restaurant and plan on going again.

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