Wow! That is what we said when we first encountered the newest sandwich shop in Key West.
While Key West has been famous for its Cuban bread-based sandwiches, hot pressed until cripy, this new shop opens and re-invents the idea of casual Caribbean food. Yes, we still are fans of the Cuban Mix – a local sandwich served on Cuban bread andlayered in ham, pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard.
But when we first encountered Bien’s (formerly Paseo’s) sandwich, all we could say is “WOW!”.
Originating on the west coast, Paseo’s had massive success with its two sandwich shops there, reportedly serving 400 sandwiches a day to people lined up out the door. So popular were the Seattle shops that when the sign on the front of their building became obscured by overgrown bamboo, the business never slowed down. Knowing that with food this good, a sign isn’t a necessity (local word of mouth spread its praises like wildfire), the owners opened a shop in Key West – once again forgoing the need for a business sign. This gives the funky business a “locals secret” vibe.
What makes the food so memorable? Like any great sandwich in the history of the world, you have to start with great bread. So, rather than using the traditional Cuban bread, the owners have found a source for a delicious baguette that combines the perfect combination of crunch crust with chewey interior. The crusty bread holds up nicely to the marinated fillings.
But it is the marinade that is used on most of their sandwiches and dishes that makes the food so delicous. So secret is the sauce, that the owner closes for a day just to prepare it out public view. Combining Carribean flavors, the sauce has an exotic, savory, and thoroughly unique flavor – a sort of bar-b-que sauce meets jerk sauce meets carmalized onion and garlic.
Also to be noted are the “bowls”, expertly filled with wholesome ingredients to the delight of patrons.
If you are looking for something new, definitely visit Bien. This is a very casual place with take-out as the only option (no table service). They have a few tables outdoors at which to eat.
Hours of Operation: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:30 am – 9:00 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Location: 1000 Eaton Street (at the intersection of Grinnell Street)
All sandwiches are on a lightly toasted baguette slathered with aioli, fresh cilantro, pickled jalapenos, crisp romaine, and caramelized onions
1. Grilled Pork, $8.50 – Cubed pork loin grilled over lava rocks and based with Paseo marinade until golden brown
2. Caribbean Roast, $8.50 – Pork shoulder coated in Paseo marinade and slow roasted ’til falling into succulent morsels.
3. Chicken Breast, $8.50 – Plump chicken breast dredged in Paseo marinade and fire grilled to perfection.
4. Smokin’ Thighs, $8.50 – Two marinated, skin-on, boneless chicken thighs flash grilled and oven roasted.
5. Sauteed Prawns, $8.95 – Six black tiger prawns sauteed in extra virgin olive oil with our garlic tapenade (optional spice 1-5 stars).
6. Fish of the Day, $8.95 – Delectable slices of fish, pan seared thoroughly with extra virgin olive oil and garlic tapenade (optional spice 1-5 stars).
7. Tofu Delight, $8.50 – Where’s the meat? Who cares. Extra firm organic tofu cut into bite size pieces and sauteed in extra virgin olive oil with our garlic tapenade (optional spice 1-5 stars).
8. Paseo Press, $8.95 – Succulent morsels of roasted pork nestled atop banana peppers draped with sheer slices of smoked ham, swiss cheese, caramelized onions all melted together between a hot press (no lettuce or jalapenos).
9. Ham and Cheese, $7.50 – Our twist on a classic. Razor thin slices of smoke cured ham, piled high over banana peppers, covered with caramelized onions and swiss cheese, melted together on a hot press (no lettuce or jalapenos).
10. Onion Obsession, $6.00 – Caramelized onions sauteed in our garlic tapenade tossed with fresh sprigs of cilantro and jalapeno peppers (optional spice 1-5 stars).
11. Seared Scallops, $8.95 – Sizeable sea scallops pan seared in extra virgin olive oil, our garlic tapenade and tossed with fresh sprigs of cilantro (optional spice 1-5 stars).
12. West Caribbean Bowl, $12.00 – Dis’ one be the second most popular “bowl” in the Caribbean mon! A generous portion of jasmine rice smothered in black beans, warm salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and one chicken thigh. Served with love, peace, and tortilla chips.
13. Rice Bean Thigh Trio, $8.00 Two scoops of jasmine rice covered in black beans and accompanied with an oven roasted thigh. Extra thigh, $2.00.
14. Paseo Greens, $4.75 – Crisp romaine lettuce, razor thin sliced purple cabbage, julienne pickled beets, fresh sprigs of cilantro, drizzled with our house vinaigrette and extra virgin olive oil. Add grilled chicken breast or roasted thigh, $3.00. Add sauteed prawns, scallops, or fish, $4.00.
15. Black Beans & Rice, $5.50 – A bowl full of fluffy jasmine rice smothered in our critically acclaimed vegetarian black beans.
16. Rice Bean Salad, $8.25 – Paseo greens served with jasmine rice & a healthy portion of black beans.
Served all day with the following Paseo greens drizzled with our house vinaigrette and extra virgin olive oil. Accompanied with jasmine rice and our critically acclaimed vegetarian black beans.
17. Half-Chicken Dinner, $12.50 – By far the best deal on the island for quality and quantity. A huge half chicken encrusted with exotic spices, flash grilled sealing all the juices, finished off in the oven and then by you.
18. Caribbean Roast dinner, $12.50 – Hefty morsels of succulent roasted pork shoulder dripping in Paseo marinade waiting to tantalize all 9000 of your taste buds.
19. Smokin’ Thighs Dinner, $12.50 – Two bone-in juicy thighs bathed in Paseo marinade flashed grilled giving them an enticing smokey flavor then patiently roasted ’til flawless. Can you hear the “thigh” of satisfaction?
20. Grilled Chicken Breast, $13.00 – Six-ounce of boneless, skinless, all white goodness, grilled over lava rocks with a caramelized coating of Paseo marinade embracing all its natural juices.
21. Paseo Pork Loin, $13.00 – Cuban pork loin grilled over an open flame, brushed with Paseo marinade and greatness.
22. Caribbean Scallops, $13.00 – Savory sea scallops pan seared in extra virgin olive oil, garlic tapenade and gently tossed in our reveled red sauce. Available with cilantro. (optional spice 1-5 stars).
23. Fish in Red Sauce, $13.00 – Delicate slices of fish fillet sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic tapenade and swimming in our reveled red sauce. Available with cilantro. (optional spice 1-5 stars).
24. Paseo Prawns, $13.00 – Six peeled and deveined black tiger prawns, sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic tapenade and simmered in our vivrant red sauce. Available with cilantro. (optional spice 1-5 stars).
25. Tofu Con Gusto, $12.50 – Stout slices of extra firm organic tofu, sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic tapenade and ladled with our reveled red sauce. Available with cilantro. (optional spice 1-5 stars).
Grilled Chicken Breast with Rice, $5.75
Paseo Pork Loin with Rice, $5.75
Two Chicken Thighs with Rice, $5.25
Half Chicken with Rice, 5.75
Caribbean Roast Pork with Rice, $5.50
Prawns in Red Sauce over Rice, $6.25
Scallops in Red Sauce over Rice, $6.25
Fish in Red Sauce over Rice, $6.25
Tofu in Red Sauce over Rice, $5.75
Twelve-Ounce Black Beans, $4.25
Six-Ounce Black Beans, $3.00
Twelve-Ounce Jasmine Rice, $2.50
Six-Ounce Jasmine Rice, $1.50
Caramelized Onions, $1.00
Tortilla Chips, $1.25
Can Soda or Water, $1.25
Specialty Soda, $1.95