Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 2, 2012

Road Food Report: Cuban Flair in A Squared

Step up to the counter to order from the menu on the wall at Frita Batidos

Chase the winter chill with a taste of the tropics at Frita Batidos in Ann Arbor.

Communal seating at Frita Batidos

The informal restaurant is the creation of Eve Aronoff, a former TV “Top Chef” who is not Cuban but infuses her hot spot with the flavors from the island and Latin American cooking that she learned to love while visiting her Grandmother in Miami.

Readers of a certain age may confuse the diner’s name with Frito Bandito, the snack food character from a politically-incorrect era that pre-dates the mostly college-age patrons at Frita Batidos. It comes from Fritas, a type of Cuban burger piled with French fries, and Batidos, a sweet fruit shake served with or without rum.

TJ and I stopped in on a sunny but cold Saturday afternoon in December and the joint— painted white from the floor to the brick walls and picnic tables and benches that serve as communal seating—was jumping.

We didn’t want to elbow in on the University of Michigan students sharing the benches so after placing our order at the counter we grabbed a couple of stools along one wall.

The chorizo Frita and Best Snack Ever! simply served and simply delish

Our chorizo Frita and the “Best Snack Ever!” were delivered promptly on a simple, paper-lined tray.

The Frita—spicy sausage and fries piled on brioche ($7)—was tasty, even without optional extras ranging from cheese to a sunny side up egg and avocado spread (an additional $1 each).

But I really loved the “Best Snack Ever!” combination of coconut ginger rice, black beans, muenster cheese and cilantro-lime salsa ($7). Delish.

Making mojitos, a specialty at the Mini Bar

I’d return just for that and to try the raved-about  fried plaintains. And I could be tempted to wash it down with a mojito from the Mini Bar.

You can’t pull up a bar stool here; it’s more like a kitchen counter where you can watch a small selection of adult beverages being mixed.

 

The Batidos, in flavors like coconut cream and passionfruit, seem really sweet—but I may have to sample one in the name of research. Perhaps with rum to counter the sweetness.

Frita Batidos is a casual place for high quality food made largely with Michigan and Midwest-sourced ingredients and goods, a commitment by the owner who formerly operated the finer diner ‘eve the restaurant’ in the Kerrytown area of Ann Arbor.

Frita Batidos opens at 11 a.m. daily; closes at 11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and midnight Thursday-Saturday.

Frita Batidos
117 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor
734.761.2882

Visitor Info Clicks:

Ann Arbor

Pure Michigan

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