• Sunday , 21 January 2018

Creative Chef at Atlantic City’s Cuba Libre is an Artist in the Kitchen

Photos, story by Lou Perri

Exploring several of Atlantic City’s Cuba Libre‘s summer fare recently, this explorer met with the very creative senior chef, Kevin Couch, who oversees the chain’s kitchens inside the Tropicana.

Chef Couch proves to be a master creator of his selected entrees, including the signature plate, Seafood Paella, seen here, on a bed of Saffron long grain rice, features an assortment of mussels, clams, large shrimp, and a split Maine lobster tail. A roasted piquillo salad also comes with this delectable masterpiece. Baby octopus gives this dish another artistic touch.

The new summer specialties include a grilled artichoke heart, with salt cured tomatoes and feta cheese hidden within, and Guava BBQ Rib, a nice slice of St. Louis cut pork rib covered in a Guava BBQ sauce glaze, pickled pineapple squares, and sliced pickles. The summer masterpieces are created by the restaurant’s executive concept chef, Guillermo Pernot.

Also on the menu are new cuisine like Guava BBQ Ribs, Del Jardín Empanada or the Mar y Tierra Mixed Grill – a Cuban version of “surf and turf.”

Cuba Libre Restaurant at Tropicana

Cuba Libre Restaurant located inside to soon to be remodeled Tropicana in Atlantic City.

A Cuba Libre place setting

A Cuba Libre place setting waits for food to be ordered.

The dining room at Cuba Libre.

The dining room at Cuba Libre.

Starters offered Mariquitas cubanas, with plantain and malanga chips to dip into black bean hummus, Haitian eggplant salad, and Cuba Libre salsa. The cost: $9.25.

Starters offered Mariquitas cubanas, with plantain and malanga chips to dip into black bean hummus, Haitian eggplant salad, and Cuba Libre salsa. The cost: $9.25.

Four appetizers were offered including two summer creations.

Four appetizers were offered including two summer creations.

One new summer appetizer is the Del Jardin: a grllled artichoke with salt cured tomatoes, and Feta cheese inside.

One new summer appetizer is the Del Jardin: a grllled artichoke with salt cured tomatoes, and Feta cheese inside.

A new summer appetizer is the Guava BBQ Ribs, a slow-cooked St. Louis cut pork rib covered in a guava BBQ sauce glaze, pickled pineapple, and sliced pickles. The cost: $13.75

A new summer appetizer is the Guava BBQ Ribs, a slow-cooked St. Louis cut pork rib covered in a guava BBQ sauce glaze, pickled pineapple, and sliced pickles. The cost: $13.75

An appetizer that's also on the menu is Papas Rellenas, a potato croquette filled with beef picadilloa sweet and spicy guajillo pepper saucecrispy onions, and Manchego crema.

An appetizer that’s also on the menu is Papas Rellenas, a potato croquette filled with beef picadilloa sweet and spicy guajillo pepper saucecrispy onions, and Manchego crema.

Shrimp Ceviche was the fourth appetizer to taste., a Cuban style shrimp cocktail with Latino coctel sauce and avocado salsa, a hot taste to the pallet.

Shrimp Ceviche was the fourth appetizer to taste, a Cuban style shrimp cocktail with Latino coctel sauce and avocado salsa, a hot taste to the pallet.

A view of the grilled artichoke showing the inside of the appetizer.

A view of the grilled artichoke showing the inside of the appetizer.

Senior Chef Kevin Couch in the main dining room.

Senior Chef Kevin Couch in the main dining room.

SeniorExcutive Chef Kevin Couch.

Senior Executive Chef Kevin Couch.

Server Nicholas Pfeffer who hopes tto assist in the kitchen. He has been with Cuba Libre for about a year.

Server Nicholas Pfeffer who hopes tto assist in the kitchen. He has been with Cuba Libre for about a year.

Nicholas brought out a Cuba Libre signature dish, Seafood Paella, artistallyprpared by Chef Couch. The entree is served over Saffron long grain rice, with Jumbo shrimp, a Maine lobster tail, little neck clams, mussels, quid, and baby octopus, crowned with a roasted piquillo peppers salad. This artistic creation costs a diner $31.

Nicholas brought out a Cuba Libre signature dish, Seafood Paella, artistically prepared by Chef Couch. The entree is served over Saffron long grain rice, with Jumbo shrimp, a Maine lobster tail, little neck clams, mussels, quid, and baby octopus, crowned with a roasted piquillo peppers salad. This artistic creation costs a diner $31.

Kevin Caranza is another server who knows the restaurant menu well.

Kevin Caranza is another server who knows the restaurant menu well.

Operations manager Hassan Dennis recommended the banana bread caramella as a sweet to compliment a fine taste.

Operations manager Hassan Dennis recommended the banana bread caramella as a sweet to compliment a fine taste.

Cuba Libre has a well stocked bar where one can enjoy an after dinner drink.

Cuba Libre has a well stocked bar where one can enjoy an after dinner drink.

Operations manager Hassan Dennis iposes outside the restaurant where a convertible Cadillac is painted with the Cuba Libre logo.

Operations manager Hassan Dennis poses outside the restaurant where a convertible Cadillac is painted with the Cuba Libre logo.

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