As the daughter of a Cuban chef in New York City, opening a restaurant in Texas was a dream come true for Ana Castillo Guerrero and her husband John Guerrero.
According to their website, The Latin Pig Restaurant is a family owned and operated business whose main focus is to provide true Cuban flavors, as if you’re eating in her mom’s kitchen. Which you kinda are. Ana’s mother is the chef of the restaurant and has always had a passion for cooking. Absolutely nothing makes her happier than making delicious Cuban food for her family. Ana recalls asking her mom how she cooks for customers with the same passion as cooking for family, and she answered, “I simply continue to cook for my family, but now my family has gotten bigger.”
The cuisine served at The Latin Pig can trace its origins back to the 16th century, and is a fusion of Cuban, Native Latin American Indian and Caribbean influences. As someone who has limited experience with this type of cuisine, I can’t really stack it up to any competitors. But both Rebecca and Philip Silvestri, the editor and publisher of Plano Profile respectively, who lived in the Dominican Republic for a considerable amount of time, were able to attest to the quality and authenticity of the dishes.
First brought out was a fantastic plate of appetizers: chicharrones, tostones, fried salami and fried yucca served with mojito sauce. Fried food at it’s very best!
Chicharrones is essentially deep-fried pork belly, enjoyed with a drizzle of lime. They’re the perfect combination of crispy, flakey and tender. Combining it with the lime juice was something new to me, and as a person who loves tart citruses, it was a great new addition to my food vocabulary.
Tostones are twice-fried plantain slices, made from ever-so-slightly sweet plantains, incredibly popular in the Caribbean. And while the tostones were delicious, especially with the mojito sauce, my favorite was the fried yucca. Yucca root is a shrub-like plant, and a native to hot and dry regions of the Americas and the Caribbean. The fried yucca has a potato like quality about it, but is crispier and crunchier than french fries. I definitely could have eaten a whole plate of it.
Then came out our main entrees: Ropa Vieja, Rabo Encendido and Camorones al Ajillo.
Ropa Vieja was a generous portion of tender shredded brisket with colored peppers and onions in a savory tomato sauce, served with sweet plantains and your choice of rice. Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in English, is a traditional Cuban dish and a popular choice at The Latin Pig, and I can taste why. The dish originally came from the Canary Islands of Spain, and was a recipe specifically for using leftover food and less desirable cuts of meat. The legend of the story goes something like this: A poor man, who was expecting his family home for dinner, prepared the dish with shredded clothes because he didn’t have the money to buy the ingredients. The love for his family was so strong, the shredded clothes turned into the delicious beef stew that is now known as Ropa Vieja.
Philip (our publisher) ordered the Rabo Encendido: beef ox tail marinated for 48 hours, and slow stewed for eight hours, also served with sweet plantains and your choice of rice. Of all the new tastes I tried, this was delicious! The meat was incredibly tender which is not surprising after learning about the time put into marinating and stewing the meat. If you enjoy savory, fatty steaks, this is an adventurous meal worth every bite!
And finally, my other favorite flavor of the night, was the Camarones al Ajillo, an aromatic and delicate dish of 12 large shrimp, with onions and bell pepper, cooked in a buttery garlic sauce served with, what else but rice and a side of plantain. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, and like the other meals, served in a generous portion, so even though it’s on the pricier end, the quality and quantity justify that.
The Latin Pig
3131 Custer Rd #165, Plano, TX 75075
- Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.