Updated
Jul 22nd, 2018
First Posted
Sep 9th, 2015

Padrino's Cuban Cuisine

801 S University Dr
Plantation FL, 33324
(954) 476-5777
Overall Rating
2.4
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
09/08/2015

Details

Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Entree Prices: Moderate
Outdoor: No
Reservations: Yes
Delivery: No

Pros

Nice Dining Room
Lunch Buffet

Cons

Buffet is Expensive with limited Selection
Chaotic Service
Dining Room is very Dark

Critic's Review

I heard that Padrinos had a buffet; they've actually had it for 2 years; they implemented it just after my last visit. The flyer I saw was for $8.99; I checked the web site and it's now a cool $10.99. No mention of what they were serving. I decided to try it anyway.

As my regular readers well know, I usually do lunch late, but for a buffet I prefer to get there early. The food is freshest when they first put it out; you never know what you're going to get a 2pm on a buffet. So I got here just after Noon. The parking lot was pretty full; I thought I'd beaten the 12pm lunch crowd but I wasn't sure.

They have a couple of tables out front but I'm not sure I'd want to sit there. Maybe at night.

There were only a few tables, so most people in the lot were probably shopping at Dick's. The buffet was loaded so I just ordered an iced tea and grabbed a plate.

Rather than crowd a salad onto the plate I kept it separate. Bread is brought out by a runner; no lemons at Padrino's.

My first place of food had yellow rice, black beans, chicken with vegetables, picadillo, shredded pork and some sort of fish.

Even though fish was being freshly put out, it was all very dry and overcooked. It really needed some sort of sauce or moisture. I usually don't order picadillo because it usually includes either olives or raisins or both; but this didn't have either. It did have bay leaves left in it, which were difficult to discern from the green peppers in the dark room. And it is very dark in the place.

Nothing I had was great; it was all passable. The beans didn't taste as good as most cuban beans do. Normally I load up on the beans but there were unremarkable.

Iced tea is delivered with very little ice; My tea was iceless in just a few minutes. I had to get someone to bring me a glass of ice.

It was time for seconds, and the big group was now all on line at the buffet, so I couldn't just cut in front. I got on the line; just looking to get some more meat, and I noticed the bussing crew hanging at my table. I saw them grab my empty salad plate; ok fine. But then they proceeded to bus the entire table. I didn't want to get off the line, so I just shook my head.

When I got back to my completely clear table, I just stood there trying to get someone's attention. Nobody responded. Service here is chaotic; I didn't seem to have a fixed server. I got one girl's attention and told her I'd need my drink replaced; a manager came over and offered me a rollup. Of course my bread, and ice was gone.

I got another tea with almost no ice. Very strange. I didn't ask for more ice.

More of the same. No real variety on the buffet. They put out another tray of dried out fish. the only thing I didn't try was some sort of chicken thigh dish, the white rice and the chicken noodle soup.

Given that I had no server checking on me, getting my check was problematic. Nobody was looking around. Finally I got someone's attention, payed the bill and left.

Conclusion

While there was nothing wrong with this buffet, at $10.99 it's difficult to justify the cost. The food they put out isn't that good, and its $2 more than their regular lunch prices where you get what you want. Also consider for $1 more you can go to a Sushi buffet and get a much better value. There's nothing wrong with this buffet; it just doesn't compare well to other buffets.

Also, the buffet is only $9.99 at their 3 other locations according to menus on their web site; why is it $1 more in Plantation than Boca Raton?

Review 2/4/12

You don't usually find "authentic" Cuban restaurants in strip malls, but Padrino's is an exception. It's also bigger than most Cuban places, although there aren't any booths. I'm kind of used to sitting in booths; they have them everywhere, so somehow sitting at a table seems odd.

I ordered an iced tea; not only do they serve it with lime, but they don't even have lemons as my request was rebuked. It's not quite the same with lime, but I muddled through. I ordered the Ropa Vieja and while I was waiting my server brought me out some bread.

I really liked the bread. The bread was garlicky and raised my expectations on what was to come. They didn't butter the bread in advance, but they provide a couple of pats if you want it.

The descriptions on the menu of this stuff; the way they prepare the beans and the Ropa, sounded really good. But the execution didn't live up to the hype. The beef was fairly bland; I had to salt it, and you shouldn't have to salt this dish. The beans didn't taste like anything more than plain beans. There just wasn't enough garlic in anything to make any flavors jump out. The food was fine, but there was nothing special about it.

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Andrew
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You nailed it once again. How this restaurant is unable to properly keep the food warm is beyond me. Even if you arrive early, the food does not taste fresh. These are all problems that could be fixed but just continue. Best part about the buffet is the bread. That's sad.

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