Periods 4 through 6, MHS students venture out to Valley Road, Watchung Plaza and beyond to satisfy their lunch-time munchies. One of the main factors in choosing a place to eat lunch at is how much bang you get for your buck. Since Plato Cubano, one of Montclair’s newest ethnic food eateries opened in late December, some students have been finding just that.
Walking into this restaurant at the corner of the strip also housing Enzo’s and Bagels Abroad (bordering Van Vleck Street), I was skeptical of the plain exterior and steaming buffet pushed up against the front window, but immediately reassured at the delicious aroma of fresh cooked meats and vegetables. Different from other lunch-time hot spots where you order at a counter and then wait, at Plato Cubano you wait in a short line in front of the buffet to be helped by a server filling plates. When it’s your turn, you walk up to the buffet and choose from an array of rices, beans, vegetables and meats and some Cuban specialties like tostones and tamales to fill a plate for $5. If your cravings extend past a plate of food, you can buy by the pound at $6.49. With only one table inside, the take out containers are easy enough to eat from on the go, or sit down with on the curb.
I went simple on my first visit to this new favorite and had a beef stew with white rice, which I must say was flavorful and extremely satisfying. It was $5 well spent. When I asked fellow Bull writer Erica Schnitzer if she had eaten at Plato Cubano, she said, “Oh it’s really good! I go there with my family semi-frequently. Much better than Cuban Pete’s!” Surprisingly, after asking many students over Facebook, all of them told me that they had never eaten there. The reason I think this lunch spot is great is that you get a real meal, not just a slice of pizza, that is comforting on a long day and isn’t overpriced. The $5 cost may be a bit much for a daily lunch, but check it out for an occasional treat!