Though at one time considered a regional sandwich prevalent primarily in Florida, the Cubano or Cuban sandwich is now finding its way into national dining outlets due to increasing popular interest in Cuban culture following the relaxation of travel restrictions to that country.
For evidence of this fact look no farther than Quiznos, which recently debuted its own version of the Cubano at locations nation-wide. As a devoted fan of the Cuban sandwich, I was curious as to how this chain would handle replicating a sandwich whose components, particularly the choice of bread and pork tenderloin, call for considerable care and preparation.
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It would be presumptuous to assume that Quiznos, by nature of its status as a multi-location establishment, would not be up to the task of (mass)-producing a decent Cuban sandwich. Nevertheless, I was doubtful.
But, lo and behold, they did...with some modifications. Instead of roasted pork or tenderloin, Quiznos uses pulled pork, and doesn't skip on the portion allotment, which is great because the meat is juicy and well-seasoned. This substitution, however, alters the traditional texture of the sandwich, for the errant porcine juices mingle promiscuously with the melted Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and ham. Whereas a regular Cubano has more stratified, segregated flavors, Quiznos' Cuban sandwich is blur of tastes—and a pleasant one nonetheless. The sandwich's more salient weak point is the bread, a toasted white variety that is fine but bland compared the rich, lard-laced composition of Cuban bread.
Purists might consider these tweaks significant enough to prevent the sandwich from being classified as a "real" Cubano. For them, fine; for me, it's nice to have a place to get a very reasonably-priced Cuban sandwich fix ($6) when I'm not in South Beach or Havana, which is basically, um, all the time.