The Ultimate: Cuban Sandwich

Havana may be nearly 1,500 miles away, but the Hub has some very serious Cuban sandwiches of its own.

The Ultimate

Photograph by Ekaterina Smirnova

Though French-Cuban bistro Chez Henri serves plenty of fine fare, the pressed Cubano — available on the bar menu only — is the plate that keeps ’em coming back. Maybe it’s the buttery baguette, packed with generous slabs of smoked ham and slow-roasted pork shoulder. Maybe it’s the way the panini press somehow seems to melt the Gruyère cheese into the meat, or the way the ultrathin, tart cornichons become embedded in the belly of the bread. Regardless, the big-enough-for-two sammie, served with sides of salsa and chipotle aioli and heaps of fried plaintain chips, bests every other version in town. One Shepard St., Cambridge, 617-354-8980,

Volle Nolle****
Some of North End’s finest meats are served inside Volle Nolle’s Cuban: sweet pulled pork, moist Black Forest ham, and shreds of salami, all dressed with a spicy mayo/mustard spread. Our only regret? The small serving feels more like a snack than a meal. 351 Hanover, Boston, 617-523-0003.

El Oriental de Cuba**
While we liked the option of throwing favorite fixings — lettuce, tomatoes, onions — atop a solid traditional Cuban, the roll seemed lacking in freshness and flavor. 416 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-6464,

Eastern Standard*
The toasted slices of Eastern Standard’s signature bread strayed too far from traditional Cubano roll. Plus, the thin sandwich, though flavorful, could have been beefed up with a bit more meat. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-9100,

Mike & Patty’s*
After a couple of bites, the artisan sandwich built with pulled pork and shredded ham made for a messy meal. A little less yellow mustard might have made all the difference. 12 Church St., Boston, 617-423-3447,