An ok meal at Little Havana

&uotI just IMed

Now it should be said right away that Little Havana is very cute and that the one-man-band host, waiter, (owner?) was very charming. The place was pretty crowded with people who looked like regulars. On the table were little containers of candy corn. The menu was slightly expensive but we were hungry. And so we started with ceviche:

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Ceviche, for those not in the know, is fish cooked in acid—usually lemon juice or lime juice. It’s really delicious. Here there were three large shrimp, though I thought there were four and wrongfully accused Kirk of attacking one of mine when there was only one left on the plate.

“How many did you have?” I asked.

“One,” he said.

“Oh,” I replied guiltily.

He cut the third shrimp in half and muttered: “I’m not the one whose religion forbids the eating of shellfish.”

My entree, I suppose, is where my meal entered lacklustre-land. I ordered the filet migneon because I haven’t had red meat in a while. [Ha, you can refute that when you scroll below and re-examine my meal at Craft.]

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Are you swooning over that plate? Probably not. The steak was well prepared. I enjoyed the onions. The plaintains were confusing: they were flat and crunchy but where was the banana? And the rice and beans were adequate.

It was the cost that makes me say this meal is just an “ok” meal. If we’d had the same food for much cheaper I’d say: “It’s a great steal at Little Havana.” But as it was, it was pricey and right across the street we could have spent the same money and eaten Batali-cuisine. But a certain someone hates bar stools. And steals shrimp.

8 comments

  1. Po was Mario Batali’s place originally, but he hasn’t had any part of it in years. He sold it to his former sous chef shortly after opening Babbo. These guys also own ‘ino, which is nearby.

  2. If you want a really good Cuban meal, try Cafe Habana at Prince and Elizabeth Streets. It is small and often crowded–but for good reason. If you go, you MUST try their corn on the cob or their corn cakes. Or make a whole meal out of their corn dishes. (One tiny caveat: unless you really like hominy, don’t get their hominy stew dish. It has hominy in it. But everything else I’ve had there is fantastic.)

  3. Those plantains are, I believe, maduros. You take a bit of plantain (not banana! it’s different!), mash it, and bake it.

    Fried plantains are much better. And if you call them ‘platanos fritos’ they’ll be happy.

  4. Those plantains are, in fact, tostones — not maduros. Tostones are sliced and fried plantains, normally served with a garlic-y sauce. Too bad for you, AG, they came naked!

    Maduros are the sweet caramelised plantains which I prefer over the tostones. And which you can get at Cafe Habana ;)

  5. Plantains are not bananas. And what you had where Tostones wich are plantains that are fried then flattened and refried. They are good with a garlic sauce.

  6. i’m not sure how much you paid for that meal, but i’ll let you know that as a cuban-american i totally swooned over that plate. and yes, they’re tostones not maduros. if you didn’t like the tostones, i’m sure you’d love the maduros.

  7. Comments on tostones vs. maduros are right on target; and Little Havana makes excellent, addictive maduros.

    Next time – if there is one – and you still feel like red meat, have the Ropa Vieja – shredded skirt steak – and an order of maduros. Incidentally, I don’t really understand the allure of filet mignon – strikes me as all texture and no taste.

    If you do, I think you’ll find the price is right (we love Le Gigot, BTW).

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