In Midland, there aren’t a lot of ethnic restaurants, and fast-food chains like Taco Bell just don’t cut it. Mexican restaurants and Chinese buffets attempt to cover the need for ethnic food, but after a while, they all taste the same.
Luckily, there is a hidden jewel of a restaurant in San Miguel Plaza called Café Unique, serving real Venezuelan food.
Café Unique is certainly unique in the haze of pizza and grease fare many students are served. From the outside, it looks bland, similar to the rest of San Miguel Plaza’s sand-colored buildings.
It is a tiny restaurant my dad would describe as a hole in the wall. Only six tables and bright red walls welcome customers to a little piece of Venezuela.
A counter which serves as the hostess stand has a board with a takeout menu written on it in neon colors. Customers who are waiting can sit on a little red bench or a big white couch.
It was a 15-minute wait to be seated, but with such a small venue that was to be expected. There were only two employees working as wait staff and this was at noon.
The menu was a piece of paper with the entrees, desserts, drinks and appetizers printed on both sides. It was odd that it wasn’t laminated, but small restaurants have a reputation for great food despite less than perfect presentation.
My friend and I had to wait about 10 minutes to order our drinks, and the menu does not have all of the drink options listed. Our waitress was sweet but busy. She apologized for taking so long. Another waiter came by and got our food order before we had our drinks brought over.
About 12 minutes after our food was ordered, it was served to us and smelled spicy and warm.
My plate had a pile of shredded beef, a mountain of rice, black beans and four sweet fried plantains. Plantains are part of the banana family and look like long green bananas, used as a vegetable and inedible if raw.
The beef was tough and so salty it was hard to taste anything else. The mound of white rice was not spiced but tasted fine plain.
The plantains were cooked excellently—a little sweet for my taste, but I’m not much of a banana person. The black beans were basic but quite good. Our sodas were served in cans, and we were offered glasses with ice, but we turned them down.
If you pay with a card, the servers have an iPad with a card reader insert. They hand it to you to add on a tip and sign with your finger. I thought it was cool that they did that. Our server offered us receipts which were printed at the register at the hostess stand.
Overall, I thought I would have really liked the basic fare it the restaurant staff hadn’t over-seasoned the meat. I would suggest not going at noon if you are in a hurry.