Fans of Cuba Libre Gets Special Treat From Nick Badovinus

The happiest Susan is Sueville.
The happiest Susan is Susanville.
photography by Jerry McClure

Last month, I received an email from Paul, a SideDish reader. He wrote in an email with a subject line “Missing Cuba Libre”:

My wife and I were talking recently about how much we miss Cuba Libre, particularly a mixed basket of the plantain and tortillas chips with three sauces plus black-bean dip, the spinach salad with mango or passion-fruit vinaigrette, and, most of all, the phenomenal Voodoo Blackened Salmon atop coconut rice and sautéed vegetables. Moreover and aside from the palate-pleasing flavors, the salmon was always cooked to perfection as a narrow filet, but thicker than any cut I have found elsewhere in Dallas.

I forwarded the email to Nick Badovinus, the opening chef at Cuba Libre.  Today comes word that Badovinus rocked Paul’s, and his wife, Susan’s world.

This past Monday, for my wife Susan’s 45th birthday, Nick and his kitchen staff and Will (our extraordinary server), went above and beyond any dining experience in recent memory, properly pacing a phenomenal 3-hour culinary excursion for my wife Susan and two of our dear friends. Below is our menu and we continue to enjoy all that we brought home. I can’t succinctly write how extraordinary each dish was in its own unique way!

Nicely played, Badovinus. Dangerous precedent.

Birthday Dinner Menu for Susan and Guests – Monday, April 22, 2013


FRIED LITTLE ASPARAGUS – roasted lemon & dill dressing

CUBA LIBRE BLACK BEAN DIP – fresh corn tortilla chips



Pinot Grigio Scarpetta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, IT ‘10

CUBA LIBRE SPINACH SALAD – chevre, pine nuts, bacon, pineapple, hearts of palm (tossed in citrus vinaigrette)

Main Course:

CL’s VOODOO BLACKENED SALMON (thick cut of perfectly sourced wild salmon, medium rare!) – atop coconut-jerk rice and chunked winter vegetables (yellow squash, zucchini, onion), plated with a light tropical barbecue sauce


Brussels/ Pancetta/ Maple

Three Jack and Mac Casserole

Garlicky Cheese Grits


Ding Dong

Butterscotch Pot de Crème

Coffee & Toffee Banana Split


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