111815chikyboomwfl1ChikyBoom’s Cuban sandwich comes on a platter loaded with fries, potato salad and mojo sauce. Belly up to the bar in the front of the restaurant.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


111815chikyboom3Grabbing a stool in the bar area of ChikyBoom on Broad Street in Red Bank, PieHole was eager to try its Cubano, or Cuban sandwich given a boost in popularity by ‘Chef,’ the movie starring Jon Favreau released last year.

Was chef Eduardo Bover up to making one?

“If you’re a Cuban and you don’t know how to make a Cuban sandwich, get out of the business,” says Bover, himself an import from the Caribbean isle, as noted in a PieHole profile.

111815chikyboomwfl2Pernil, or pork legs roasting until fork-tender in the kitchen at ChikyBoom. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Mustard or mayonnaise? The question divides foodies from Miami to Union City, but at ChikyBoom, the sandwich is slathered with neither. Instead, a little ramekin filled with a fragrant creamy condiment called “mojo” (pronounced moho) sauce makes all the difference in authenticity and flavor of the sandwich. According to Bover, the sauce is 95-percent garlic mixed with olive oil and lime juice.

Pernil, or pork, roasted slow and low until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender, is the star of this sandwich.

Salty, slick slices of ham, Swiss cheese and ultra-thin slices of pickle are pressed together with the pork panini-style in a flattened crunchy roll. The garlicky mojo sauce is an exquisite flavor enhancer, bringing an ambrosial kick to every bite.

Served with the sandwich is a choice of spiced fries or crispy fried plantain chips. Having enjoyed the plantains here before, we opted for the surprisingly large serving of crispy fries.

The crave-worthy sandwich and fries also came with a small scoop of potato salad and a lettuce-and-tomato salad. It was a larger than expected amount of food for $12.95.

ChikyBoom is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch with later hours for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.