Encino: Blast to the Past at Versailles Cuban Restaurant
A couple of weekends ago, I was having a very nostalgic weekend. I went to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant with multiple locations. The one I frequented the most is on Venice Boulevard in Culver City. However, I went to the Encino location recently for this meal. Versailles has been around as long as I could remember and I have eaten here for over 20 years. A few years ago I was on a Cuban food hunt and after sampling lechon (pork) all over the city, Versailles is still my favorite.
While we waited for our food, I ordered the papas rellenas (meat stuffed potato balls). The potato balls are much better at Porto’s, a local Cuban bakery with locations in Glendale and Burbank (and elsewhere). The ones at Versailles were oddly flavorless which is why I think they were served with the cilantro cream.
I always get the pork and chicken combo. There’s just something about that wonderfully citrusy-onion sauce. You may be breathing fumes of garlic and onions all night but it’s worth it.
The pork is so delicate. It easily shreds with just a poke or two of your fork. The chicken is also so tender and juicy. I usually have enough to take home for a second meal.
After spooning my beans over rice, I give it a couple of squirts of hot sauce and go to town. Every now and then I’ll eat a bite of plantain. But the main stars are the protein.
There were many a night we would get pitchers of sangria and have a party. These days my palate has changed and I felt this was an indulgence I didn’t need again. Too sweet with a grain alcohol burn.
So go for the chicken and pork combo and leave happy with leftovers.