Raúl Musibay: Mostly, we just hate it.
Jorge Castillo: Not all of it. What we don't really like is a lot of the pretentiousness of the new cuisine.
Glenn Lindgren: I think everyone agrees that those cuisines have their roots in traditional Cuban food. What happened is that several chefs felt the need to reinvent Cuban cuisine to make it more hip and trendy.
Raúl Musibay: And to allow them to charge a lot more for a plate of Cuban food!
Glenn Lindgren: I guess the idea was to elevate traditional Cuban food – which tends to be simple and down to earth – to the level of haute cuisine.
HOURS: Lunch: Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | Dinner: Daily 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Late Dining: Friday & Saturday 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. | Tropical Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
PRICES: Ebtrees priced from $16.00 to $31.00.
DRESS: Business Casual
Raúl Musibay:These are the dishes that reflect the heart and soul of Cuba.
Jorge Castillo: We're not completely close minded. We do eat at some of the hip places occasionally, and just as occasionally we are pleasantly surprised by a dish or two that adds a new twist to one of the classics.
Jorge Castillo: It's hard not to like a restaurant where the interior captures the beauty of a Havana street corner in the 1950s. The design creates a great atmosphere for eating, and on a hot August night with the front of the restaurant open to the night air, you can almost imagine yourself in pre-Castro Cuba.
Glenn Lindgren: We made an appetizer out of one of the entrees, the plato Cuba libre, which on this night includes a sampling of churrasco steak, a small mound of tender lechón asado, and camarones enchilados.
Raúl Musibay: The plate also included moros y cristianos, tostones, a couple of maduros, and a big pile of what appeared to be watercress.
Glenn Lindgren: Also good and beautifully presented was the Pollo al Ajillo, a plump chicken breast stuffed with chorizo and cheese. They pan roast it and serve it on a serving of mashed boniato with grilled chayote squash and breaded, deep-fried olives.
Raúl Musibay: The deep-fried olives are very tasty!
Jorge Castillo: Another good choice was the tamal tabueno, a dish that manages to marry all of the most popular Cuban starches – rice, ajiaco, calabaza, malanga, and plantains – in one dish. The Nuevo twist comes from the addition of brown crimini mushrooms and baby onions.
Jorge Castillo: Desserts for us included an inventive banana tres leches cake with a chocolate banana mousse. Personally, I could have done without the mousse – the cake itself was very rich and moist with a subtle banana flavor.
Raúl Musibay: The addition that did work is the slices of caramelized banana.