Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Havana - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Cafe Cubano
I did a lot of research for my pick for lunch club. I wanted something out of the ordinary, but mighty tasty. After reading my way through countless great reviews, I settled on Havana. Settled in a small strip mall, it's Albuquerque's only Cuban restaurant. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical...the only other place I had tried for Cuban food was Don Yasmany where I was served a huge fried fish on a plate. Nothing else, just a fish...a whole fish. Normally I wouldn't mind a whole fish if it had some side items or some cool garnish, but it was just a fish on a plate.

We were the first ones to arrive, which ended up being a great thing. There was only one server and as the lunch crowd began to pour in the service got slower and slower...The lighting was pretty dim, but there is a nice Cuban inspired decor and you could hear salsa music playing softly in the background. Also, the aromas coming from the kitchen were amazing! I couldn't wait to get the show on the road.
Meredith and I started out with a fresh fruit shake. Meredith had mango and I had strawberry. Chuck had a Cafe Cubano.
Funny garnish for the black beans... It's a green bean on top of a cucumber.
Instead of going for a main entree, we each opted for a sandwich. I had the Cuban, which included french bread, two types of ham, Swiss cheese, butter. It was delicious. There was what seemed to me a traditional sliced deli ham, and then a nice slow roasted pork and crispy onions. It also had a perfectly melted Swiss cheese. The sandwich was humongous! A side item was not included, but I cautiously ordered black beans and rice to accompany. The description on the menu says "white rice with black beans cooked together with a certain unique taste." I usually don't care for black beans, but these were delicious. Almost as good as the sandwich!
Chuck ordered the Pan con Bistec sandwich, which had Marinated grilled steak with tomato, lettuce, and cucumber. He ordered a side of fries, which were just generic looking crinkle fries. I got to try it and it was delicious. He cleaned his plate, and said that he was very impressed. 
Meredith ordered the Sandwich de la Casa, made with french bread marinated grilled steak with ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and cucumber. She also ordered Madeves, sweet fried plantains; these were really really good. I thought that they would have some sort of crust of breading to avoid mushiness, but they didn't and weren't mushy at all. They were very flavorful and sweet.

I can go for a Cuban right now...the group consensus was that we loved it, and would definitely head back. However, maybe not at lunchtime. As the crowd grew our service slowed down; and an hour didn't cut it. Another thing to think about before you head there is that it's pretty pricey. The three of us ate for just about $60, which in my opinion is really steep for lunch.

Havana Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I guess I don't understand why a fried fish on a plate is weird. I'm betting the menu said something like Pescado Fritos, which means fried fish.... and for coastal nations, 99% of the time they don't monkey around with mere filets - it is the whole deal, otherwise it is wasteful.

    That being said, glad you liked it! :-)


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