Gables Aragon Cuisine is a Coral Gables newcomer serving authentic Mexican dishes and a few Dominican specialties in an Aragon Avenue storefront with spare, elegant decor.
Owner Manuel Boz, who hails from Villa Riva in the northeastern Dominican Republic, came to Miami six years ago for his job as a Chevron marketing analyst. He and chef Asael Cruz, a native of Mexico City, got to know each other as workout partners at the gym. When they decided to open the eatery, they hired Manuel’s cousin Henry Arrindell to run the front of the house.
Start with ceviche or bean and dumpling soup laced with hoja de aguacate (avocado leaf) that adds a subtle hazelnut-anise flavor. Tortas are Mexican sandwiches on torpedo-shaped bolillo rolls layered with refried beans, guacamole, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a choice of grilled tuna, beef or chicken. Molletes are bolillo cut in half topped with mashed beans, cheese, pineapple, turkey ham and sausage that are baked and served with salsa.
Sopes are thick discs of masa (corn dough) fried until crispy on the outside but soft inside and filled with refried beans, shredded meat and crumbled cheese. The most popular variation is the sandal-shaped huarache, a sort of oblong, open faced taco that is spread with refried beans and topped with tender nopalitos (cactus strips), shrimp, chicken or beef and potatoes, all smothered in salsa verde made from a puree of tomatillo, cilantro and green chiles.
Huarangu is a type of starchy mash or fufu that originated in West Africa and is made in the Caribbean with boiled green plantains mixed with garlic and butter. It is served here lightly fried with shrimp or steak and eggs in green sauce. Aztec lasagna — layers of tortillas, mashed beans, shredded chicken and salsa — resembles an igloo melting into a pool of delicious cheese.
Wash everything down with morir sonando, “to die dreaming,” a Dominican drink of iced orange juice and evaporated milk. Creamy flan with candied carrot makes for a dreamy ending.