Palm Beach Post writer, author, and our good friend Carlos Frias reveals the winner of the best Cuban frita (burger) in Miami.
Frita fever: Miami’s best Cuban burger is…
DESTINATION DINING: FRITA SHOWDOWN, MIAMI
Burgers are the food competition equalizers: You don’t have to be an expert or a foodie to know a good one when you taste one.
Same goes for the South Florida variant, the frita, which can best be described as a Cuban hamburger: redolent in cumin and garlic and onion spices.
Six South Florida restaurants put their spin on the frita Wednesday night in the Frita Showdown organized by Miami blogger Sef Gonzalez, known as the Burger Beast. More than 150 people came to the $35-a-ticket event at Miami’s Magic City Casino, and the winner was the same as last year’s: El Rey de las Fritas (The King of Fritas).
The fritas ranged from the traditional, like Mago de las Fritas (grilled onions, crunchy potato sticks, ketchup and a cumin-spiced beef patty on pillowy Cuban bread) to the Latin House’s artistry (guava ketchup, crunchy homemade potato chips, Mexican chorizo in the beef patty).
El Rey, in business in Miami for more than 40 years, lands somewhere in the middle, with a meaty patty and a chorizo-flavored spiciness on warm Cuban bread that won over the judges and the majority of the crowd.
The judges know flavors. Among them were Chef Richard Hales, whose Blackbrick Chinese in Midtown Miami was Florida’s only representative in Bon Appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurants for 2014. So too were John Kunkel of 50 Eggs (Yardbird, Khong River House, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Swine Table & Bar), and Jose Mendin, chef and partner of the notable Pubbelly restaurants on South Beach. NBC 6 lifestyle reporter Roxanne Vargas.