Hole-in-the-wall deli keeps things fresh and simple
October 19, 2017
Amongst the flashy bars, bustling restaurants and thumping music venues lining San Jose’s South First Street, there sits an understated, old-school delicatessen. Cubamex, founded in late summer 2016, serves up a small variety of sandwiches and snacks influenced by Cuban, Mexican and American cuisines.
The pint-sized, four-table eatery exudes a retro vibe— complete with tile floors, cherry red walls and windows with painted-on phrases like “Welcome!” and “Please come in!” You feel like you’re at one of the many neighborhood corner markets you’d see in big cities like San Francisco or New York. It’s very homey.
During my tasting, I sampled the three most popular sandwiches on the menu: the BBQ pork, the turkey and the namesake Cubamex.
The Cubamex was by far the stand-out. Similar to the traditional Cuban sandwich, the Cubamex combines roasted pork, ham, salami and canadian bacon with melty swiss cheese, vinegary pickles and their signature Cuban mayonnaise (think a spicier version of dijonaise).
The ingredients are housed together inside a pillowy loaf of Cuban bread. Instead of pressing the sandwich down on a grill in order to achieve a crusty outside (as is tradition with any Cuban sandwich), Cubamex leaves the bread untouched, which allows the ingredients inside the sandwich to produce most of the textural complexity.
Overall the sandwich is delicious—not overwhelmingly rich but still satisfying—and for $9.99, it’s fairly priced.
The BBQ pork sandwich uses the same pork as the Cubamex sandwich, but differentiates itself by adding on a sweet, cumin-heavy barbeque sauce. I found the BBQ pork sandwich to be more decadent than the Cubamex sandwich, despite it only having one-quarter the number of meats.
My one suggestion for the BBQ pork sandwich is that it should be topped with coleslaw as opposed to lettuce. This would more aptly cut through the richness of the pork and create a much more interesting contrast of flavors. Still, the sandwich is recommendable.
The final and most simple of the sandwiches was the turkey sandwich, which came with turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and Cuban mayonnaise. As far as turkey sandwiches go, it met expectations. The veggies were fresh, the turkey was piled high and, again, the bread served as a perfect foundation. Well-executed just about covers it.
Cubamex also has a variety of snacks—everything from Cheetos to plantain chips to flan. So whether you’re looking for a full meal or just something to tide you over, Cubamex has you covered— all said and done for under ten bucks.
For those looking to fill up without going broke, Cubamex is a streamlined, simple sandwich spot that satisfies. It’s meaty and cheesy—quick and easy.
Contact Jimmy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.