Fusing Cuban comfort food with American speed and flair, the new Pinecrest restaurant Oye is a natural evolution for the hyphenated generation. Wraps are stuffed with churrasco and diced sweet plantains and served with a mojo dipping sauce. Sliders sandwich picadillo between buns. And burgers follow the frita formula of mixing chorizo with the ground beef and topping the patty with shoestring potatoes.
A wide, brick-walled patio fronts the eatery in the Suniland Shopping Center. A sitting area in back with leather chairs invites lounging, but the walk-up counter is all about getting your food in a hurry. Menu choices are generous to a fault. The make-your-own sandwich option offers Cuban bread, baguette, four kinds of wraps, 14 main fillings, three toppings and seven sauces.
Fourteen platters mimic traditional classics like bistec empanizado with sides such as black beans and rice, and there are croquetas, empanadas, pastelitos and tostones stuffed with everything from lechon to ceviche. It would be impossible to get it all right. Our lechon asado platter was skimpy on the sautéed onions and mojo, and the palomilla steak was tough and underseasoned. But my custom sandwich - ropa vieja on sweet Cuban bread with grilled onions, diced sweet plantains, moros and mango-papaya salsa - was a fun and tasty update of favorite flavors. Desserts, served from a separate walk-up station, are some of the best Latin takeout we've had in awhile. The cream cheese flan was a creamy dream.
Oye's motto is "Inspired by Cuba, Made in America," and for those whose lives have been defined by that message, it just might feel like home.