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Apr 22, 2007 05:59 PM

Cuban Fast Food on Austin Street

Driving on Austin St by Natural I noticed that a fast food cuban place is opening. Anyone have any info?

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  1. Nice spotting. You pretty sure it's Cuban and not Puerto Rican or Dominican?

    9 Replies
      1. re: Mcheck57

        I went by there the other day. I recognized the logo but I'm not sure which it is. The sign on the new store says something like 'authentic homestyle cuban food'. It's either a branch of Cabana, the pan-Latin place on 70th Road in FH or a branch of Latin Cabana, the good Cuban restaurant on Steinway St in Astoria.
        I know many people on this board laud the food at Cabana, there's very little Cuban about it so I have little hope for the new take-out place if that's what it is. If it's the Astorian Cuban, I'm be more hopeful. I wouldn't make a special trip to Astoria, but I'm not far from the new location.
        I'll report back as soon as they open. btw, it's located on the south side of Austin St about a block west of Ascan Ave.

        1. re: el jefe

          I passed by today and it is open!! It is the Astorian Cuban as you hoped el jefe. The takeout menu has lunch for 5.50. Will be trying it Wednesday and will report back.

          1. re: el jefe

            I don't know the cuban in astoria. You sure it's on steinway? I found a listing for: La Cabana 3318 30th Ave Astoria

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Jim, it's on Steinway close to 35th Ave (near PC Richards and across from Metropolitan Lumber). I've had many lunches at this place and it's very good for the price $5.50. You have about 4 daily choices. Lots of food for the money. After 3PM, the price is $6.50. It's eat in or take out. Very popular place.

              1. re: Mike V

                Thanks! But then what's the place with the same name at 3318 30th Ave? Yet another branch?

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  The place on Steinway St & Austin Street is Latin Cabana not La Cabana. It certainly possibly a Cuban Restaurant is at 3318 30th Ave but its not related. I passed Latin Cabana on Austin St this afternoon (1:30) and it was packed. Very little seating unlike Latin Cabana at 34-44 Steinway. This place is best for take out. For those stopping by after work for take home dinner they'll be pleased with the $6.50 specials (four each day seven days a week). Before 3PM it's $5.50. House Specialties range from $8.25 to $9.95. 18 Sandwiches from $2.75 to $4.50. Many interesting Shakes at just $2.95. They also serve breakfast at low prices. This place is an excellent addition to the neighborhood.

                  1. re: Mike V

                    I walked in about 2:00pm to talk to them. Unfortunately I already had lunch. Hopefully the food is as good at this location as at the Steinway spot. The lechon in Astoria is really good. My only complaint is that seating in FH is limited to 3 stools at a small counter that today was filled with pre-packaged stuff. I'll try lunch there tomorrow and either take it to the park on QB and 70th Road or eat it on the steps of the church across the street.

                    1. re: el jefe

                      It's about time. This neighborhood needs a good/cheap latin food place.
                      The specials sound like what's common among other Latin restaurants in Jackson Heights. I hope they have good soups. Now all that remains to be done is to taste test the food.

      2. We had a good Cubano sandwich from there for lunch today: hot pork, ham, cheese on pressed soft roll. It was large enough for us to share.

        They're very busy. It's still sort of chaotic, but I imagine things will go more smoothly as they settle in. It looks like it's going to be a hit. By the time I left, the line was out the door!

        Oh, so much better than the 2 dreadful empanada places that preceded it in that location.

        9 Replies
        1. re: fran124

          For Admin Assistants day we brought in food from there. Delivery starts 5/1. Apparently they didn't start cooking until around 11:30. When we opened the food there were dishes missing. They apologized and provided it without question.
          The food was great. My staff which is all latinas loved it. We will be ordering from there again...soon

          1. re: Mcheck57

            Husband went there yesterday, good chicken sandwich, not as good as Rincon Criollo but good enough--and great for the area...also, maduras were pretty good...they will have mini fries next week..good prices..

            1. re: janie

              I ate at Cabana for the first time yesterday. As someone already reported, the line was almost out the door and they were rushing the customers- while I can understand it I was disappointed because I would have liked to ask more questions. The steak sandwich was delicious- and for less than $5! My only complaint is that they only have pork tamales- being that Forest Hills still is somewhat of a Jewish neighborhood, hopefully they will expand their tamale fillings to accomodate other "pseudo kosher" Jews like me!:} Also, most likely not a fault of theirs as I realize it's due to the cuisine, but I noticed for their entrees, the choice of 2 sides includes a rice (white, yellow or black) and another starch like fries, plaintains or yuca (the one vegetable is a "salad"). I just think that like expanding their tamale fillings, they may appeal to more Forest Hillians if they include more veggie options. The shakes look interesting (didn't try them yet- one is tamarind) Overall however, it looks like a great addition to the neighborhood!

              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                Can someone please post the address for the place? I'd love to visit, but need more specific information as far as location goes. Thanks!

                1. re: sandrina

                  Austin St less than a block west of Ascan Ave.

                  1. re: kenito799

                    I don't know how they are going to manage with the delivery orders since they seem to be overwhelmed just by the walk-in traffic. 20 minutes wait over the weekend.
                    The food is tasty and portions are adequate. The only "bad" thing for me was that the picadillo seemed to be a bit salty, but beyond that the food was good. The goat fricase was really good.

                    1. re: maria_nyc

                      I went again today. I had the grilled chicken entree (well marinated, juicy, with caramalized onions) with a choice of rice and yuca with garlic. The yuca was delicious! My only quip is that I'd have to pay extra to sub more yuca for the rice. I also tried the shakes- made with ice and milk (not icecream). The guanabana was very yummy- but they left big ice chunks in it. More properly blended and it would be the perfect summer drink.

                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                        That's perfectly normal at that sort of place. Yuca may be cheap compared to many other vegetables, but it does cost more per pound than, say, rice. There's more labor involved, too. I'm sure they could raise prices or shrink portions of the meat if enough people have qualms about paying extra for more expensive sides. I suppose they could reduce quality, too, which would be in line with Forest Hills standards. Be careful what you wish for! :)

              2. re: janie

                am reporting on my husband's behalf, as he's eaten there now 7x, he works on Austin st! He's got an excuse...the beef piccadillo is his favorite...he also says they can't really handle the crowds, and says there's an older woman there, who he thinks is the owner's mother, who just kinda stands around and does nothing,,,doesn't ask if anyone needs help etc.....he said the staff is frazzled, but the owner is very nice, as he had the opportunity to speak with him...he's the only one who knows what's going on apparently...anyway..interesting to see if there's a good place, how much business it can do in that area.....anybody out there listening????? we need good food in Forest Hills...please!!!!!!

          2. O.K., so hubby and I decided to give Latin Cabana in Forest Hills a try last Friday night. I suppose that the long lines mentioned in a few posts can be attributed to the fact that the waiting area is quite small, and it doesn't take too many folks to fill the place.

            For as small as the place is, they do offer an extensive menu, along with many Cuban favorites such as boliche, ropa vieja, vaca frita, pernil, and of course, the heavily sought after Cuban sandwich. We decided on an order of ropa vieja accompanied by frijoles negros, arroz amarillo, platanos maduros and a Cubano. For a take-out place, I must admit that the food was good...not great, but somewhat better than some full fledged restaurants out there. Hubby thought that the beans had a slight burnt taste which I didn't detect at all. Our visit was quite late, at about 9:00 p.m., so we may have gotten close to the bottom of the pot of beans. The rice was flavorful and not overly starchy. The portion size of ropa vieja could have been more generous, but the abundancy of beans made up for the scarcity of meat. Nonetheless, the meat we did get was moist and flavorful as was the sauce with a nice tang from the olives. Maduros were simply not ripe enough and justifiably lacking in that wonderful natural sweetness. This is something we've been experiencing at most latino restaurants lately though. What was incredibly sweet was the dessert, arroz con leche. It was much too sweet for our tastes, and I suspect it may have been prepared with sweetened condensed milk. Now the cubano....I'm disappointed to say that on this front, the search for a good cubano continues. The pork was dry, and the bread was wrong! The sandwich was more the equivalent of a media noche with the sweeter bread being used. Nonetheless, we'll still give the sandwich another try earlier in the day. It may be that by late evening the meat may dry up a bit. Our purchases totaled $17 and change. Service was quick and painless. Recommended? Yes. Parking? Atrocious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sandrina

              " I suppose that the long lines mentioned in a few posts can be attributed to the fact that the waiting area is quite small, and it doesn't take too many folks to fill the place."
              True. To be fair, though, there really aren't too many storefronts on Austin Street that are that crowded. I never see the taco place or the sushi place, a few doors down, fill up at all. And I never saw anyone go into the empanada joint that previously occupied this space. On weekends, La Cabana often has lines that come out the door, so it is definitely generating some enthusiasm and/or curiosity.

              Not that this intrinsically means much at all in terms of the general food quality. So far, we've had take out three times, and I agree with you that they're okay, sometimes less so. The bread on the cubano is too big for my tastes, and not all that fresh or crisp, so, although the flavor might be there, the texture thing isn't happening. I had a pernil special on the first weekend, which was pretty good. Overall, as a FH resident dying to have more of this type of eatery on Austin Street, I'm happy to have them in the neighborhood, and am rooting for them to hit their groove and get bettter.

              1. re: Polecat

                I originally wrote this on a new post...then someone told me people were already talking about it:

                Houndworthy on Austin Street
                I know, hard to believe. But there's a Cuban place, and danged if I didn't forget the name of it. But it's down at the end of Austin across from the Sacred Heart church. A HUGE departure from the typical overpriced, nondescript blah usually offered in that neighborhood. And hands down, they served me the best Cuban sandwich I've ever had. Somehow, they were able to press it without drying out the bread. Just make sure to ask for the green garlic sauce on the outside. The time I went back, they left that off. You can't go wrong with any of the stews they have either. Every day they offer a special with rice and a side for $5.50.