Not The Bull

While I am indeed a huge lover of Rice and Beans, overall, I am not a huge lover of Cuban Food.  I do enjoy some plantains here and then, and of course a healthy serving of Rice & Beans, but other than that, my like of Cuban food is pretty limited.  Perhaps this is because I have not had enough of it or perhaps it is because I am not a real big meat fan.  Whatever the reason, I find myself very rarely visiting Cuban-based restaurants.  A month or so back, I had a client visiting at work.  Well, one of the things on our agenda was lunch.  Originally the plan was for Mexican but, at the last second, we shifted gears to Cuban.  The result of that meal is the Subject of this Post.

We all piled in the mini-van (literally) and headed up the road to Fernandez the Bull Cuban Restaurant.  Let me start of by saying that Fernandez may be a Bull but he is Not The Bull.  That right is reserved for Rocky the Bull and all other are simply imitators.  Fernandez is a local Cuban Restaurants with multiple locations in Naples.  I have never visited the Fernandez for the reasons mentioned above, and, because I thought there prices were too high.  Why pay high prices for food I don’t love?  But, this was with work so this was not a factor.

After review of the menu, I decided not to get just rice and beans.  I’m not a huge fan of large lunches and figured I would be better off getting a House Salad with a side of Black Beans.  Our service was quite good and I received a good-sized salad and a bowl of black beans.  Let’s start with the Salad.  This House Salad was one of the better I have had anywhere (Outback may still be #1 but, this is a close #2).  This salad was loaded with a base of mixed greens including spinach and multiple types of lettuce.  And let me tell you, these greens were fresh.  In addition to the greens, were plump tomatoes, large cucumber pieces, carrots and freshly sliced White American Cheese.  I ate this salad without any dressing and, really, the dressing was not needed at all.  The freshness of the ingredients made everything juicy and delicious.  I especially liked the addition of the tomatoes with the cheese.  I wouldn’t say the size of the salad was dinner worthy but, for lunch, this salad kicked butt.

Now, the Black Beans were not as good.  The beans were served in a large amount of liquid with some pieces of onions mixed throughout.  After I let these cool off, I began to eat and could describe them with one word – salt.  These little suckers were so beyond salty it was crazy.  I thought perhaps it was just the liquid so, I tried draining it from my spoon before each bite.  Unfortunately, the beans themselves were just as salty.  I was astounded by how salty these beans were.  I literally could not even taste or enjoy the beans – all I could taste was salt.  These beans made me thirsty for the entire rest of the day and far into the evening.  I would have loved to have seen the sodium label on these suckers – through the roof indeed.  I did not like these whatsoever…blah.

We had a really nice lunch at Fernandez the Bull and everyone enjoyed their food.  As for me, I enjoyed my salad but did not like the black beans at all.  While this salad was good, this is not reason enough for me to return to Fernandez.  If I want a salad, I can go to 100 other places and get a salad – there is nothing quite that special about this one.  If the beans were better, I would have considered returning but, sodium does not count as a flavor in my book.  So Fernandez, please realize that you are A Bull but not The Bull.  And for all you loyal readers out there, please release that the black beans served here are  s o d i u m.