From June 2005 Cheap Eats
Cuban rhythms, straw hats, and painted island hues set the scene for this casual Cuban cafe. Food is old-style homey. Start with deep-fried beef- or cheese-and-olive-filled empanadas, then move on to one of the marvelous pork dishes. Puerco asado (roast pork) and masitas de puerco (fried morsels of pork with thin-sliced raw onions) are both worthy, but the showstopper is montuno Cubano, tender chunks of pork sautéed with green olives and onions. For beef lovers, there's ropa vieja, the traditional dish made with shredded flank steak. Even better: vaca frita, a crunchy heap of shredded beef and onions.
Red snapper Cuban-style, with red and green peppers and vinegar sauce, tops the seafood list, along with camarones a la Cubano, shrimp with tomatoes, capers, and wine. Savory rice and beans accompany most plates, though plantains have been a bit scorched of late. Wash it all down with a tropical-fruit milkshake, house-made lemonade, or Hatuey beer, a Cuban-style brew. There's a handful of sweets for dessert, but a cortadito–Cuban coffee with cream–is all you really need.