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Mercedes Grill, Venice Beach CA

September 7, 2009

I’ve been eying this restaurant for a while now, mostly because it features a mix of Cuban and Jamaican food, but mostly Cuban. Mercedes Grill is located in Venice beach, with the beach within walking distance. I run past this restaurant pretty much every Saturday with my Santa Monica running group, but have never actually checked it out. The restaurant itself was fairly small, with patio and indoor dining. Immediately upon being seated, we ordered up the Coconut Mojito. This was fabulous and such a refreshing drink to start off the meal.

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I was tempted to order the Mango mojito too, but the drinks were pricey! ($12/drink) The mojito was perfectly sweet without being overly sweet, combined with a touch of coconut flavor and mint leaves. This drink definitely makes up for the not so stellar martinis I had Thursday night at The Wilshire. They were $1 martinis from 10-11pm, so I guess I got what I paid for right?

Loved this crusty bread and some sort of garlic butter:

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Brennan ordered the classic Cuban sandwich. It’s made with roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. Sounds pretty simple, but it was delicious. The pork was so juicy and tender and they were pretty generous with the amount too. I’m not sure if this is a “traditional” Cuban sandwich. I thought they were pressed? And I don’t think this was on Cuban bread either, it tasted like regular thick bread to me. Parts of the bread got a little soggy because there was so much juice from the pork inside. Came with a nice side salad and fries too. Brennan loved it and said it beats Bobby Flay’s pork sandwich from Mesa Grill. Gasp!

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I ordered the Traditional Cuban garlic citrus chicken breast topped with caramelized mojo onions. Overall, I was a little disappointed by this dish. The chicken was tender and juicy, but on the bland side. It had a nice citrusy flavor to it, but I was expecting more garlic. I ended up dipping some of the chicken in ketchup lol. The portion size is huge! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chicken breast this big before. I usually don’t order chicken at restaurants since they come out dry and not well seasoned, but I wanted to try something traditional. The dish came with a side of black beans and rice. I have a serious addiction to black beans, especially when it’s nice and hot. I ended up scooping some of the rice into the black beans, yum. It also came with some fried plantains which were pretty good. I only ate one of them, but it was what I was expecting from a fried plantain, sweet with a crusty exterior. What food doesn’t taste good fried?

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Overall- great drinks, okay prices, bad parking, good Cuban sandwiches. I think I will try their jerk chicken enchiladas next time. Until the next review!

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