Last week’s Times-Picayune article on the area’s best Cuban sandwiches cost me a tank of gas. After reading Brett Anderson’s personal list of favorite pork-ham-pickle-and-toasted bread masterpieces, I had to drive over to Morgan City and eat my favorite local version of the iconic sandwich. The Latin Corner (201 Railroad Avenue, 985-385-2404; no website) is just a short detour off of U.S. 90, located along the waterfront in downtown Morgan City. It is an unassuming little place, hemmed in by the railroad tracks and the Atchafalaya River. Mismatched tables and chairs fill up a (somewhat) renovated, cheerful corner storefront, complete with a small bar in the second dining room.
The low-key vibe is a cover for the kitchen’s ambitions: they’re cranking out serious Cuban home cooking, offering weekday lunch specials and slightly more ambitious fare on Saturday nights. Tender, fragrant black beans are redolent of oregano and garlic; their broth is the perfect match for the restaurant’s generous basket of toasted Cuban bread, sprinkled with a pungent dried spice mix. Maduros (available with or without sour cream) emerge from the kitchen fried to a dark-brown state, tasting like salted caramel on the outside and sweet, earthy plantain on the inside.
Back to the Main Event, that Cuban sandwich: as with the po-boy, so much of the Cuban’s nature depends on the bread. Latin Corner uses a proper roll: chewy but not hard, with a tender, smooth crust that only improves after being buttered and press-toasted flat. Thin-sliced ham gets a sizzle on the griddle (and thus crispy edges) before it cozies up to house-roasted pork, a generous layer of sour pickles, and properly restrained swathes of cheese and mustard. Pair the sandwich with the french fries; ordinary fries become irresistible after a shower of the same tangy herb blend used on the toast.
Latin Corner is open for lunch Monday through Saturday and is open for dinner Thursday through Saturday.