Thursday, April 21, 2005

Cafe Havana

I met a couple of my girlfriends for dinner tonight at a hot boite in NoLita called Cafe Havana. Is there any restaurant in this neighbourhood that's not happening?! Standing at the corner of Elizabeth and Prince, one can admire the charming row of brownstones on either side with their black, wrought-iron window sills. Apartments in NoLita are tiny and exorbitant given the trendy status of the neighbourhood.

Cafe Havana - the Cuban diner that always has a long queue of twenty-something creative types vying for a table - serves the most delicious corn-on-the-cob in Manhattan. Charcoal-grilled and tossed in a chile lemon butter, the sweetness of the corn contrasts amazingly with tanginess of the dressing. Biting into the corn, I remembered my favourite bhutawallas on Marine Drive but the sweetness and tenderness of the corn I had tonight were far superior.

The cafe itself is very unassuming and offers fabulous value for money. It's a 1950s style cafe that packs a lot of people into a tiny space. The waitresses are no older than eighteen and each one is stunningly attractive. Cuban music played in the background but was shut out because of the loud chatter at dinner time when the place was litterally humming.

In addition to the corn, we ordered a mango & jicama salad, an avocado & cheese quesadilla and a vegetarian enchilda. They were all intensely satisfying. We indulged in fried sweet plantains and a coconut flan for dessert. All this for just $35 split three ways. What an amazing deal for a sumptious dinner at a cozy neighbourhood cafe!

17 Prince St
(at Elizabeth Street)
New York, NY


Blogger gs said...

i had totally forgotten about buttas till you reminded me with your latest posting.the season is going to start soon here and i am eagerly looking forward to is convenient for me either to buy the buttas at bombay gym and roast them at home or to buy from the buttawalla standing at the entrance to the cooperage bandstand.lemon squeezed over the butta,salt and mirchi powder make it a terrific thing to eat and enjoy.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


cafe havana.. i miss nyc just for getting that spicy corn.. and it's not like you can get it right at home, wish I could.


10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've worked with the owner there in the past. They are passionate about their corn. The cheese is the toughest part to really get right, but this should help you:

a la Café Habana, New York City

Ingredient Quantity
Fresh sweet Corn (husked) 12 ears
Cotija (queso anejado) 12 ounces
Chili powder 1 tablespoon
Fresh lime slices 12

1. Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil corn, turning occasionally until hot and some kernels turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Crumble 1 ounce of cheese on one side of each corn ear. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon chili powder.
3. Broil until cheese starts to melt 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with a slice of lime.

YIELD: 12 portions

11:47 AM  

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