If there’s a better Cuban sandwich between South Florida and North Jersey, someone please notify us, because the one set before us at the new Carolina’s Tex Mex is the biggest and freshest we’ve tasted between those capitals of cocina Cubano. Tender, thick chunks of roasted pork, superthin slices of ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles nestled between two buttered and pressed slices of Cuban bread, with a side of fries. It’s a rare, wonderful treat in Baltimore for $8.50.
Beyond the Cubano, Carolina’s offers a grab bag of conventional Latino fare, from papusas ($2 for bean and cheese, perfect with a side of red onions and pickled cabbage) to burritos to enchiladas—the cheese enchiladas ($8.50) we ordered were delicious, garnished with freshly made salsa and guacamole, black beans, and white rice. Only complaint was they came with red sauce instead of the advertised green.
When we aren’t on a budget, we’ll have to come back for the signature dish: baby-back ribs with a side of grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and fries ($15.99). The owner, who just moved Carolina’s from a smaller storefront up the street to this somewhat more formal, but thoroughly unpretentious sit-down restaurant in the old Café Madrid space, effused about them. We’re inclined to believe him.