La Herencia is is a Cuban restaurant halfway down Aviles Street — the oldest street in America., If the weather is warm enough (it usually is), there will be a few black metal tables and chairs outside, where diners casually enjoy their meals listening to The Godfather soundtrack trickling over from the Italian joint next door. Seating inside is at bistro tables in a dining room with cream colored walls.
Our waitress cheerfully explains that everyone comes for the PBS-touted guajiro — an omelet served over Cuban toast with pork, beans, salsa, and cheese. But in her opinion, the breakfast wrap is better … that is, if you want breakfast (which is served all day).
Every time she brings something to the table, she is extremely excited about it, proclaiming, “It’s so good!” She is right about the ceviche, which is fresh, with a ton of lime, served with slightly dry but just-toasted baguette.
Star of the show is the Media Noche, which is a spin on the classic Cuban but made on soft, sweet bread not unlike a Hawaiian roll. As in a regular Cuban, it is pressed flat, smooshing all the pork, ham, cheese, and mustard together. The pork is tender and there’s just the right amount of mustard. I could use about three more pickles, but that’s an easy fix. On the side, tostones (crisp-fried slices of plantain) are heavily salted and have starchy insides. Our waitress brings a Costco-sized tub of Valentina hot sauce. It’s good for dipping.
Mojo roast chicken with plantains, rice, and beans has great flavor but is a touch dry. The rice and beans help, as do the plantains, which are thick, sweet, and juicy. It’s best all mixed together with a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of hot sauce.
We resist flan and tres leches, but sit a while longer on the sidewalk watching sightseers and even a few filmmakers walk through the historic street. Town trolleys stop right outside the restaurant, making it an easy place to visit on a tour of St. Augustine.