Authentic Cuban restaurant pleases taste budsMonday, February 13, 2012 By Holly Given
To challenge my taste palette, I decided to travel over to the Havana Road Cuban Café to dabble in Cuban cuisine. I had never had Cuban food prior to this, so I had no expectations, but I was excited to give cultural food a chance. When I arrived, the waitress immediately greeted me and took me to my table. The small size of the restaurant was complimented by the nicely decorated warm colors, “Cuba-inspired” decorations, such as the bright lights dangling above the ceiling and unique chairs and tables. The restaurant was fairly empty because I went on a Wednesday night, so during busier hours, the service may not always be as speedy. The friendly server came over multiple times throughout the dining experience to ensure customer satisfaction. Although the service was commendable, one waitress waited on all the tables. The service was not only impressive, but the food was delicious. I ordered the Cuban sandwich which came with a side of plantain chips. The fresh sandwich, which featured slow roasted Cuban pork with ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickle and a side of mojo pressed on traditional Cuban bread, tasted great and I could not stop eating the plantain chips. The chef and proprietor, Marta Ines Quintana, prides herself on her authentically Cuban food using all natural ingredients. After eating at Havana Road Cuban Café, I felt that Quintana was justified in describing her food as wholesome and authentic. Although both the food and the service were of good quality, the dishes were a bit pricey. The sandwich was not that big and I only received a small cup of plantain chips, but the price was about $10.00. Some of the entrees can reach almost $20.00, such as the Arroz con Camarones. The Ropa Vieja, the Arroz con Pollo, the Lechon Asado, the Mojo Pollo Asado, and the Carne con Papas, which are all entrees, cost between $14.00 and $15.00. Although the entrees are more expensive than the sandwiches, you receive more food for the price. The desserts are relatively inexpensive, with prices ranging from $2.25 to $6.50, reasonable prices for a high school student. I ordered the Cuban flan, which was suggested by the server. The flan, a traditional Mexican dessert that consists of an open tart filled with custard, tasted scrumptious and fresh, since all flans are made in house by Ines Quintana. The flan not only comes in a traditional flavor, caramel, but also comes in coconut, mango, cream cheese and Guayaha. Although the portion size was small, the extensive options made up for that. For those whose stomach does not grumble at the mention of flan, the restaurant offers Cuban Rum Cake, various coffees, and hot chocolate with churros. The soups and salads are also a good price, costing between $4.00 and $8.00, but only two salads and three soups are offered. If price is not a concern when choosing where to dine, then I would definitely recommend the Havana Road Cuban Café. With the excellent tasting food, commendable service, and genuine and comfortable environment, I would recommend this restaurant to others and return for another meal in the near future.