First of all, Elena Ruz is actually located within the building that holds Black Circle Brewing. It’s on 46th right near Keystone, in the back of the old Double 8 foods building if you know the one I mean. It’s sort of hard to realize there’s a Cuban place in there unless you just know. You go into the bar, order drinks at the bar (lots of beer choices, and even a record player) and then order your food from a doorway nearby. Sort of food truck style.
You can’t take kids in there obviously though, since it’s a bar. And we live in Indiana. They do have some limited outdoor seating though. Anyhow, my friend Suzanne and I wanted to try a variety of things so we got the Cubano sandwich ($8.50), the beef empanadas ($6.99) and ended up with a side of tostones ($3.99) because they were out of the plantain chips.
I thought the best things were the empanadas. There were three of them, and they were filled with super juicy and flavorful beef. A pet peeve I have is when an empanada is all dry inside and these were the opposite. At one point the liquid from the thing was running down my arm. The fried pastry was nice and crisp and held everything in. The cilantro cream sauce was the best. There is no need for other sauces, this stuff was so good, and I wanted to dip everything in it.
The Cuban sandwich was very traditional—layered with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. I like Cuban sandwiches because; duh, pickles and mustard are two of my favorite things, but also because they are inherently flat and easy to eat (I know, I am weird). This one was solid, although I would have liked a couple more pickles (the ones that were on there were nice and thick though). It’s totally worth getting, or doing what we did, and splitting it along with something else.
I did not care for the tostones. They were really dense and didn’t have a lot of flavor. The garlic sauce that came with it was interesting—pretty much just like crushed garlic in oil, but it wasn’t the right mix with the tostones. I liked them better with the cilantro cream, but even then, not my favorite.
There are a lot of good sounding things on the menu though—I’m intrigued by the rice bowls. And it’s a great place to have in the area, that doesn’t have a lot of sit down independent places to grab lunch. They’re not open Mondays or Tuesdays though, so plan accordingly. And let me know what you get and what you think.
Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine
(Located in Black Circle Brewing Company)
2201 East 46th St, Suite 207