Piece of Flan
Elevated twists on classic Cuban dishes at Bread + Butter Counter
Flan can be hit or miss.
The worst offender is a cloying sugar bomb revolving in a dessert case for an indeterminate length of time.
Chef Alberto Cabrera's flan magico de queso (magical cheese flan) at Bread + Butter Counter is the opposite: a revelation of egg-and-milk custard and contrasting citrus slices ($5).
Yes, dishes at the new Cuban gastropub, like pulpeta or ham meatballs ($14) and tamal en cazuela, or corn casserole ($14), are as good as you've heard. Crusty Cuban bread, for lunch sandwiches like the pan con bistec ($14), is baked in-house.
Cuban food lovers will recognize many dishes at Bread + Butter Counter, although the ingredients may be surprising. In the case of the flan, Cabrera uses creamy Humboldt Fog goat cheese, in a variation on a cream cheese version he has made for years. Flan is often made with cream cheese, although some traditional recipes do not include it.
In Cabrera's flan, the goat cheese adds a slight tang. The flan also contains the traditional ingredient of evaporated milk, and Cabrera bakes the custard in one of the empty milk cans. Flan purists will be pleased by the undercurrent of caramelized sugar at the bottom of the can.
Our Miami editor, Trina Sargalski, ate unannounced at Bread + Butter Counter on February 4 and February 19. Dinner for two was $43, not including tip and alcohol. Dishes on the dinner menu were mostly superior to those we tasted on the newer lunch menu; the pan con bistec at lunch was an exception.