I've stopped into Caribe (http://www.urbanspoon.com...yout-Cincinnati)
3 or 4 times in the past 6 months, and I like it a little better each time I visit.
The place is kinda hard to spot, so when you see the UDF on the corner of Glenway and Cleves-Warsaw, you're right there. Prices have risen a little this year, just like they have pretty much everywhere, but even with the increase, everything on the very limited menu here is dirt cheap, and I mean that as a compliment.The best deal on the menu is the combo - rice topped with one of 4 everyday stews (two chicken-based and two vegetarian) plus an empanada for 4.50, up recently from 4.00. I have not tried the vegetarian stews, but the citrus chicken is good and the curry-laden coconut chicken is wonderful, flavorful and chock full of chicken, potatoes, and perfectly cooked chickpeas.
There are usually a half dozen or so empanadas available, and you can choose any of them to pair with your combo. They usually have vegetarian, chicken, chorizo (listed on the menu as pork) and ground beef, with each type generally but not always available as regular or spicey. The "spicy" is a bit of a misnomer here, though, because the hottest of the bunch (the spicy pork) is not even as spicy-hot as a typical "medium" buffalo wing, for sake of comparison. The spicy chicken is not hot at all, more like a mild curry chicken, very similar in flavor to the coconut chicken stew. The beef is just mildly spiced ground beef, good but not great. The best of the lot is the spicy pork - the flavor of the chorizo mix is just outstanding.
The menu also offers two cheap add-on items - potato cakes or tostones, which are deep fried mashed unripe plantains, both liberally salted. The tostones are the "carribean" choice here, obviously, but the potato cakes are much better in my opinion - everything the McDonalds 'hash brown" patty wishes it were, but isn't - even though these start frozen, they are deep fried when you place your order, are tasty as all get out, and a steal at a 1.25
The owner runs the place by himself, and although he is not himself from the Carribean, he says he got all his recipes from his wife, who grew up down there. He is very friendly and accommodating.
Two caveats - hours are a little weird (Wed through Sat only), and it is a cash only business.
<message edited by TJ Jackson on Fri, 01/13/12 11:50 AM>