On our team, we have “families” within the team that we grab dinner, watch movies, or just hang out with a few times throughout each semester. My family (Mie, Sydney and Taylor T) decided to embark on a journey to a restaurant in Durham where we’d never been before. Gregoria’s Kitchen. We stumbled upon a neighborhood gem complete with an intimate atmosphere and authentically delicious Cuban food. Arriba!
We were pleasantly surprised by many aspects of our Cuban adventure. First was the romantic atmosphere inside the small but lovely establishment. The music ranged anywhere from Pitbull to traditional Latin instrumental pieces. It was a great addition to the atmosphere – we danced in our seats at least two times. Sorry guys.
We ended up sitting in the back room, right around the corner from the room pictured above. Both areas were warm and quaint. We started the meal off with two appetizers to split between the four of us. The first were Empeñadas Espinica y Queso (spinach and cheese turnovers). They came bearing the first foody surprise on the side — a delicious tomato and avacado salad with a light lemon juice dressing and cilantro.
Next up was the calamari. To be honest, I was weary of Cuban calamari but my qualms were quickly put to rest. Hellooo squid.
HEADS UP: Alright, I have to be honest. The service at Gregoria’s was not exactly a five star performance. We had to ask for bread to be brought out and water refills were not being poured liberally. Although we were abnormally hungry and thirsty that night, we were some of the only people there and were not waited on as diligently as we would have liked.
ANYWAY- The bread was very good. Maybe better than the bread though, was the roasted red pepper spread that was brought with it. Check it out. We couldn’t get enough!
For the main dish of the evening, everyone chose one of the steak options as Gregoria’s is a Cuban Steakhouse, after all. I went with the Ropa Vieja. If you know Spanish, you know that this means “old clothes.” Let’s just say I’m glad I ordered it despite the appetite curbing name. I was presented with a delicious portion of shredded skirt steak served over a bed of roasted tomatoes, beans, herbs and garlic. These ingredients all came together seamlessly in a collective broth of all of the heavenly coexisting flavors. To top it off, a fried and flattened plantain (banana) wafer rested decoratively on the delicate strips of steak.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about dessert. We ended our flavor-packed meal by sharing three! I took a chance on the flan that no one else ended up wanting to take with me. If you’re a flan lover though, feast your eyes on this coconut flan dream come true.
The next delightful dessert was the flour-less chocolate cake. It didn’t taste flour-less to us, but allegedly it was. The kiwi and cream garnish didn’t hurt its cause at all. A lovely cake indeed.
The final dessert that was bestowed upon us were the creampuffs. I guess they don’t have a Spanish name, but the vanilla cream center and the flaky puff, if you will, tastes the same in every language — and it tastes good.
Aside from a bit of slow service and waitresses that were less than attentive, our visit to Gregoria’s Kitchen was enchanting and easy on the wallet. The Goalie Spoon approves this restaurant.