FOOD: Tortas Guicho Dominguez y El Cubanito — Fountain Square [INDY]

Tortas Guicho Dominguez y El Cubanito (Tortas Guicho) is located in an unassuming building along a quiet stretch of Virginia Avenue (next to Bluebeard) just north of the Fountain Square neighborhood. The rustic décor, complete with vintage doors and windows with exposed brick peeking out from behind old cracked stucco finished walls, creates a warm atmosphere, despite the actual temperature in the building being slightly below comfortable (it is winter, after all). At 2pm on Christmas Eve, Tortas Guicho was one of the only restaurants open in the downtown area and even though they were likely cleaning up to leave for the holiday weekend (there were no other customers), we were greeted by an eager and receptive staff.

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Meals at Tortas Guicho begin with a complimentary snack of house pickled carrots and jalapeño peppers served in a small mocahete, along with two types of salsa. The presentation is very nice and colorful with fresh vibrant greens and oranges. According to the wait staff, the peppers and carrots are cured in a vinegar brine anywhere between 24 and 48 hours, depending on demand. The longer they cure for, the hotter the overall spiciness becomes. I think this batch sat past the 48 hour mark because I have never had a carrot with such a building and lasting heat. The Salsa Verde was very flavorful and spicy (more-so than most typical stateside verdes) but “Laura’s Fiery Salsa” was just plain hot! Eating a mix of a spicy carrot, jalapeño pepper, and red salsa together verges on the border of painfully hot, and should potentially be served with a warning label. I eventually found it necessary to order an appetizer of guacamole and chips in order to keep my tongue from falling out of my mouth. Available in three sizes; the smallest was perfect for two people (especially considering the huge size of the entrees to follow).

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There are no small plates here. Most sandwiches can be ordered as either “small” or “large”, with the small being a normal portion (actually half of my small sandwich would have sufficed) and the large being…well, large. The Cuban Torta is a monster. Those who are familiar will recognize the Cuban Sandwich as traditionally being served with ham, pork, and cheese with a few varying toppings (mustard, pickles, etc) finished in a Panini press. The Cuban Torta here is stuffed with a long list of salty and delicious meats; smoked pork, breaded steak, ham, turkey, chorizo, and a split hotdog. If you weren’t counting, that’s six types of meat, along with a fried egg, avocado, and melted American and mozzarella cheese between a fluffy roll. While the Tortas may seem a bit Fat Darrell-esque there is an elevated level of quality and culinary sensibility. In the Cuban, at least, a thick slice of pineapple is added to leave you with a sweet palette cleansing finish.

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The plates are huge, the prices are low, and the bathrooms are clean. Happy New Year!

Tortas Guicho Dominguez y El Cubanito
641 Virginia Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46203