Flickering jewel-tone candles illuminated the dark, dramatic upper level of the new Cuban Crocodile in Long Beach. Studying the menu, I found myself wishing that the bi-level spot had a dance floor; the background salsa music was infectious enough to make me want to leave my seat.
I stayed put, though. Soon, I found myself diverted by a light and appealing tapas plate of shrimp in garlic sauce ($9.95). A Caribbean salad ($11) — greens and a lot of fruit — proved healthy and bright. Especially good was an entree of pernil asada, succulent slow-roasted pork shoulder ($11.95) served with the pork rinds plus rice and beans.
The Cuban Crocodile is at 26 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-442-2444
Pernil asado at The Cuban Crocodile in Long Beach