Ever since I had my first encounter with black beans and rice during my summer visits to Miami, I have been on the hunt to find a spot that could deliver in both taste and authenticity. Lo and behold…Rincón Criollo! Located in a strip center in a suburban area off Highway 6, this family owned Cuban restaurant may go unnoticed. I am sure I have passed this place a hundred times, but today, I was making a stop. As we made our way through the glass doors, we were immediately welcomed with smiling faces. That was a great sign and I knew this would be a good experience.
We took our seats at a corner table clearly made for a party of four or more (I needed room for the grub fest that was about to take place). The menu was full of dishes representative of Eastern Cuba: black and red beans (my fave), Ropa Vieja (sautéed shredded beef in tomato sauce), Rabo Encendido (oxtail in creole style sauce), Picadillo a la Criolla (ground beef blended with Spanish herbs and spices), Pork Fricassee (pork simmered blended with tomato sauce and Spanish herbs and spices), and the infamous Cubano Sandwich (Cuban bread, roasted pork, ham, and cheese). Initially, I was undecided, but I was certain that their black beans and rice would take center stage.
I opted for the one pound grilled Churrasco Steak served with chimichurri. A bit intimidating in size, this tender piece of beef was flavorful and I couldn’t get enough of the chimichurri (I was a dipping fool). The Chicken Fricassee was highly seasoned and I admittedly wanted to drink the residual sauce that was left over from the stew-like entree. And not that you would need any additional sides to go along with a one-pounder, but your choice of rice and beans, yucca, fried plantains, plantain chips, fried eggs, French fries, steam veggies, or salad come along for your added pleasure. We washed down the meal with a few Batidos (Licuados), which are traditional Latin American beverages. Because they add milk, and your choice of fruit, the drinks are frothy in nature and can be compared to a smoothie, only thinner.
Rincón Criollo has been around for almost 4 years and their mantra still holds true. “You’re part of the family” is stated everywhere and I felt just that. I found the menu to be quite expansive and after searching for anything over $20, I only found a few. They are even BYOB so bring along your own wine or alcoholic drink of choice. Not only did I receive a great deal, but I found a place not far from home where I can enjoy authentic Cuban cuisine (minus the cost of a trip to Cuba, Florida or New York).
Rincon Criollo Cuban Restaurant
2150 Highway 6 South, Suite 150
Houston, TX 77077