The Black Bean - An Unpleasant Surprise

As we headed over to The Black Bean for dinner Saturday night, I had very high hopes. I mean look at that happy, little bongo-drumming guy, how could this not be a great place? A friend, whose tastes are normally quite similar to mine, told me about a wrap with pulled pork, rice, beans and fried plantains, and to me it sounded quite close to heaven. I couldn't wait to try this delicacy and rave about it on this blog. However, my experience was a bit of a let down. Let me explain.

The interior of The Black Bean, while small, makes an honest attempt at being authentic. Posters and paintings of Cuba grace the walls and authentic-sounding music drifts through the restaurant speakers. You step up to the counter to place your order and it is then brought out to your table. They have a small outdoor dining area with patio tables, but we grabbed a booth inside. We chose to start with the Island Fries with Island Sauce, and I chose the aforementioned Havana Wrap and my husband chose the The Black Bean Club Sandwich.

When the food arrived at our table, I couldn't help but pounce on the fries coated with spicy seasoning. And when dipped in the Island Sauce (aka: spicy mayo), they make for a delicious treat. I ate about half the basket before I even touched my Havana Wrap. As soon as I did, the unpleasant surprise crept up on me. I took one bite of my wrap and tasted - dun, dun, dunnnn - ONIONS! Now, I absolutely HATE onions. I think it's a texture thing. They can't figure out if they want to be crunchy or slimy and that just really weirds my taste buds out. There are some of you out there who might be like - well, that sounds really good - and for that, I'm sorry, but onions are a big no, no for me. So as soon as I took my first bite, I was immediately turned off. I dug inside the wrap and tried to scrape the rest of the onions off and made a valiant attempt to enjoy the wrap anyway, but the onions sullied my efforts. I just couldn't do it. I ate less than half the wrap and gave up, thoroughly disappointed.

I think what made me mad the most was the fact that the onions were not disclosed on the menu, for if it was, I would have asked if the wrap could have been made without the onions. And perhaps the onions are a part of the Mojo seasoning that the pork is marinated in, I'm a newbie to this whole Cuban thing, so I'm really not quite sure. Either way, the surprise onions killed my enthusiasm for the place.

Hubby sweetly offered to switch plates and give me the rest of his Black Bean Club (regular club sandwich with island sauce) for dinner, but he seemed to be enjoying it so much, I didn't have the heart. Plus, I'm not a big sandwich-lover either, so, I just ended up eating the rest of the Island Fries. Thank goodness they were so delightful.

Now, because the whole onion thing is such a personal issue, I'm willing to give The Black Bean another chance someday. I'll just have to be a bit more careful about what I order next time. If anyone has any non-onion menu suggestions for The Black Bean, I'd love to hear them in the comments!

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B
Taste - B (although I didn't enjoy my dish, the fries were delish and hubby liked his meal)
Service - A
Presentation - C
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
The Black Bean Cuban Cuisine
2205 Apalachee Pkwy
Tallahassee FL 32301

Black Bean Cuban Cuisine on Urbanspoon


downtown guy August 12, 2009 at 2:16 PM  

That's a shame, because they are one of the best inexpensive little places in town. I almost always get the media noche with a side of maduros. (That's a Cuban sandwich on the sweet bread with sweet/soft cooked plantains.) Just tell them you don't like onions and ask what they suggest.

Tally Foodie August 15, 2009 at 5:11 PM  

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitely give them another try and repost another review in order to give them a fair shake.

Anthony September 18, 2009 at 11:02 PM  

I actually went to this place after reading your review because it sounded real good and I love onions. I ordered the Havana wrap and Island fries and was not disappointed. I hope you keep updating the blog I enjoy reading it and its a good source for restaurant reviews.

Tally Foodie November 10, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

Thanks Anthony! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog and that you enjoyed your experience at The Black Bean. I still haven't made it back yet to try to order something different....but it's on my list!

Jamie & Josh December 1, 2009 at 10:05 AM  

I love Black Bean, I am also from south Florida and love cuban food. I always recommend the mojo roasted pork, it is like a cuban style pulled pork. It does come with onions on it, so ask for them to be left off. It comes with black beans and rice, you will have an option of two types of beans, tell them you want the regular black beans, and it also comes with fried plantains (manduros). It is a good amount of food for the $7 or $8.

Tally Foodie December 1, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

Jamie & Josh - Thanks for the tip! I'll have to ask for that the next time I go in!

About this blog

This blog is dedicated to giving you honest reviews of local restaurants in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. I won't hold any punches, you'll hear about it all - the good, the bad and the (hopefully infrequent) inedible!

This blog was written from July 2009 - August 2010 and is now retired. I currently live in Sarasota, FL...stay tuned for more on my adventures there!