In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, the word "antojitos" refers to small snacks or appetizers, little nibbles that are often inexpensive and meant to be consumed quickly.
At Antojitos Cuban Cuisine, which opened on the North Trail in the former Yummy House space earlier this year, the antojitos selection includes small items like croquettes (75 cents), empanadas ($2.50) and stuffed potato balls ($2), but there's nothing small about one of the restaurant's specialties, the Antojitos Cuban Sandwich.
The large version of the sandwich ($13.99) is huge. It's so big that, if you're doing takeout, you might need to strap it to the roof of your car to get it home. It's almost as big as a skateboard—so large that you need to cut it into quarters, not just in half, to consume it. Stacked up on a plate, it crowds out any sides you might want to eat.
In case I'm not being clear enough, I'm telling you: Yo, this thing is big. (There's also a less gargantuan version that goes for $9.99.)
Luckily, the sandwich has big flavor, too. It's made with sliced ham, roasted pork, pickles, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and, in a slight twist, slices of dry Spanish chorizo. All of that is stuffed inside Cuban bread and heated and pressed until thin and crispy.
It's outstanding. The bread crackles when you bite into it, but remains soft on the inside, while the richness of the meat and cheese is cut by the sharp tang of the pickles and mustard. One large sandwich is almost more than enough for two adults. On the side, you'll get crunchy potato sticks, or you can order up some other options. Fried plantains and yucca are basic, but good.
In addition to the Antojitos Cuban, you'll find a Cuban without the chorizo ($6.99-$9.99), plus medianoche ($5.99) and pan con lechon ($6.99-$9.99) sandwiches. Antojtos also makes a quality roasted pork entrée ($10.99), ropa vieja ($14.99) and chicken and seafood platters.
For a sweet ending to your meal, grab a wedge of creamy flan ($2.75) and a café con leche ($2.99-$4.50), or browse the restaurant's well-stocked pastry case for more sugary selections. Tasty enough. But what will keep you coming back is that Cuban. Enormous, and enormously satisfying.
Antojitos Cuban Cuisine is located at 3232 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, and is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The restaurant offers online ordering and takeout. For more info, call (941) 355-2200 or visit the restaurant's website.