A former resident of Miami, Providence's offering of Spanish-Carribean food intrigued me and my wife. She is Puerto Rican and a very picky eater. The lure of the original location trumped the ease of parking offered in Providence's West Side. The restaurant itself is in a former textile factory. Fitting, giving the communist theme of the workers rising.
We each ordered from the Tapas menu, though it seemed more of just an ala carte menu (tapas sounds more ethnic?). I ordered the tostones (double fried plantains, squished between frying) with a garlic sauce and the ropa vieja (shredded beef in a garlic and tomato sauce). My wife ordered the quesadilla (a Mexican-American dish? again, sounds ethnic) and the rice and black beans. The iced tea I ordered with the meal tasted off, but I honestly wanted birch beer that was on the menu yet they did not serve anymore.
The plantanos were delicious, as good as I have tasted from Cuban and Puerto Rican kitchens. They were dusted with adobo seasoning, a salt-pepper-garlic-oregano mix common in carribean cooking. The garlic glob was unappetizing and it looked visually like something you'd rather not see near food. The ropa vieja stole the meal with both me and my wife devouring both the perfectly cooked and seasoned meat and the succulent broth. The dish was served stew-style with some slices of Cuban bread. My wife is a cuban bread snob, yet she loved the freshness and it was also dusted with some adobo.
Her Quesadilla was quite delicious, despite looking like it was filled with cheddar cheese. The unknown cheese inside was actually tasty and reminded me more of macaroni and cheese. Thankfully, the tortilla was perfectly griddled with that nice crispy outside. The rice and beans showed some amateur cooking. The rice was fine (if it wasn't, I'd have burnt the establishment down since miscooked rice is a cardinal sin), but the beans had several problems. First and the worst was they weren't properly soaked, so they were a tad hard. This created a texture problem that conflicts with traditional dishes of rice and beans. Secondly, the seasoning just tasted... well off. It missed something we could not put our fingers on. Finally, they weren't saucey! What little jus from the beans just sucked up into the rice. Normally, the beans possess a thick sauce that the rice has difficulty sucking up. It wasn't a total loss, since the dish also came with some delicious Cuban bread.
Despite a few misteps, Cuban Revolution reminded me of Miami. The restuarant itself reminded me of the openair clubs common on calle ocho and the food was really good. We both want to return to try their famous sandwiches. The ropa vieja is just perfect and better than most I've had (aside from my mother-in-law's, who makes a flawless dish).
Cuban Revolution West Side in located on Valley Street in Providence. The parking lot is across the street, but don't worry. There are plenty of signs posted so you cannot miss it. They also have a website; http://www.thecubanrevolution.com/