Review: Danzón Cubano brings tasty, affordable Cuban cuisine to Grand Rapids


GVL / Alexis Velazquez

A sandwich is only as good as its condiments. As journalists and proud believers in Sweet Baby Ray’s slogan “the sauce is the boss,” many of us dip all of our sandwiches in something, whether it’s barbecue sauce, ranch, honey mustard or a “special” sauce.

There are very few sandwiches in this world that don’t require a quality dipping sauce, but the Danzón Cubano, the namesake sandwich at Danzón Cubano, is one of those elite sandwiches.

The sandwich combines more than a few mouth-watering ingredients to make the magic happen, with the most crucial arguably being the house-made Cuban bread, which can’t be found anywhere else in Grand Rapids.

The soft, buttery bread combines with the mojo-braised pork from Devries Farms, a slow-cooked pulled meat with a combination of Cuban spices giving the pork it’s signature smoky flavor. The pork on it’s own is a star, but pairing that meat with seared, thick ham and creamy Swiss cheese makes that pork irresistible.

All these chewy ingredients combine well with the crunchy, sour house pickles and the house mustard, which not only makes the consumer feel less guilty about this hearty sandwich by eating a vegetable, but also perfectly compliments the richness of the dish without overpowering it with sourness.

The opening act to this sandwich did not disappoint either, as the Cuban restaurant helped to wet our appetites with their Big-Ass Shrimp, named for both the size of its shrimp and its flavor.

The buttery prawn pairs nicely with the white wine garlic sauce, and the dish brilliantly comes with lime to give it a Cuban flair. Also, pro tip: don’t let the server take the remaining sauce after you scarf down the shrimp, as dipping your incoming sandwich in the sauce makes a fantastic meal perfect.

After speaking with co-owner Stefan Nava, he explained that Cuban food is a melting pot, reflective of the variety of countries that have had an influence in the Cuba’s history. When looking at all of the dishes, it’s easy to notice and incredibly welcomed.

When you find a moment to look up from your meal, take in the traditional Cuban decor around the restaurant or listen to the music during one of their salsa dance events.

The quality of the food combined with the stellar service and authentic Cuban atmosphere a must-see location for all Grand Rapids residents and tourists. Whether you have never heard of Cuban cuisine or are an expert in the food, Danzón Cubano is a restaurant that should be put on every foodie’s bucket list.

Just make sure you find room in your schedule for a nap following the sandwich’s consumption.