Second Helpings

Second Helping

Even with a couple of years now behind it, Cuba Cuba still has the frantic buzz of a restaurant in its opening weeks. The crowds are big, the bar is packed, the vibe is Saturday-night-in-Havana electric. So how does Cuba Cuba do it? Simple: Owner Kristy Socarras-Bigelow has brought a pure passion for the culture and the flavors of Cuba to the Golden Triangle, where, with the help of her brother, Enrique, in the kitchen, she offers the sofrito, the fried plantains, the picadillo and palomilla from her childhood as a first-generation Cuban-American in Miami. The dinner menu is a full-bodied mix of both traditional and nuevo-Cubano dishes, and the new lunch menu is a sandwich addict's dream -- finally bringing Denver a taste of the classic, Miami-style pressed Cuban sandwich. While the waitstaff occasionally seems overwhelmed by the tables packed into the small, airy dining room (and sometimes rush the more pokey eaters on the floor), that doesn't discourage regulars and newbies alike from flocking to this restaurant. Come early if you want to guarantee yourself a table: Cuba Cuba fills up fast almost every night, and Kristy doesn't take reservations.