Ok, so we’re not Miami, but Cuban food in New York City is pretty darn good! We are a melting pot of countless nationalities here, with thousands of immigrants who take their families’ recipes and traditions when they leave their home, and bestow us with their love in form of food. The Latin community is sizable here in the Big Apple, and their food is plentiful. This time I am concentrating on Cuban food, I love their cuisine, it is so flavorful and just delicious, I think you should try some of this. Now, I have never been to Cuba, so I can’t consider myself an expert on authenticity, but I have tried enough to know when something hits the right notes. Come dine with me…
Victor’s Cafe is located in the heart of the Theater District in Manhattan. It’s a pretty touristy area of town, so sometimes you have to work your way through the restaurants that are purely for them, and find a gem like Victor’s. The decor is very Havana, with palm trees, white table cloths and cuban music playing. You are instantly transported into a different realm. I have dined here several times, and have never been disappointed, including with their delicious cocktails.
Some of the dishes I’d like to highlight are some of the more traditional ones, each seasoned perfectly, plated carefully. Salpicón De Mariscos is a ceviche with shrimp, scallops, Snapper and octopus in a spicy tomato-lime juice, super fresh, delicious. I’m a big fan of croquetas, so I ordered the Croquetas De Corral with ham and a tomato-cachucha pepper sauce, which were very crispy and just the right amount of spice. My good friend, who came out to eat with me, ordered the Salmón Carnaval with pineapple salsa over a Cuban creamy polenta. Not only was is cooked perfectly, but the presentation was stunning. I had the Lechón Asado, a traditional roasted pig, marinated for 24 hours, then slow roasted for 24 hours in Cuban mojo. It was outstanding. Did I mention that this place is a gem? It is…
Cuba Restaurant & Rum Bar
Cuba is located in the West Village of our beautiful island of Manhattan, Greenwich Village to be exact. I heard the drinks here are amazing, and the Brunch is a favorite spot, the food is known to be very authentic. Salsa plays in the background, the esthetics give you a vibe of Havana. This place instantly invites you to be festive.
Of course I had to have a Cuban sandwich! This one here comes on a toasted baguette style bread, nice and crispy instead of the usual pressed kind, with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. Very tasty! Of course I tried their ceviche, I am a big fan. It came with scallops, calamari, avocado, cilantro, redo onion and jalapeños in a citrus juice, served with platano chips. It was a huge portion, and I can vouch for their freshness. Ropa Viéja is a very traditional Cuban dish, and is probably amongst my all time favorite dishes. It is a shredded skirt steak, braised in salsa criolla, peppers, onions and tomatoes, it’s so, so good, and Cuba Restaurant has hit the nail on the head, I’m in love with it. Job well done, I adore this place.
Ok, so Cafe Habana is not actually a fully Cuban restaurant. I was fooled because I saw the name, and then the Cuban sandwich on the menu. However, this was probably my luckiest mistake ever, because even though the restaurant is traditionally Mexican, the food was absolutely outstanding with amazing prices, and either way, the food is definitely Cuban influenced.
Their Cuban sandwich is heavenly. Yes, I said it. Heavenly. I could have had two, no problem. It has all the traditional ingredients, Roast Pork, Ham, Swiss cheese, but then it has a Chipotle Mayo, which gives it an unbelievably delicous twist. It’s a must-try. I had an Elote on the side, which apparently is what they’re known for, and I can see why. Covered in mayo, cotija cheese and chili powder, this one’s crazy good. Be sure to have one when you go. I also tried their Chicken Diablo plate with Rice and Beans, it had a nice kick to it, not too spicy, cooked with chicken breast, just a good solid meal. A plus for this place….