Charlotte: Piece of Havana Restaurant
I found this place by accident yesterday while en route to a soccer game. I rarely get over to the SW Charlotte because, frankly, there isn't much over there worth seeking out.
Piece of Havana is in a shopping center on S. Tryon St. just south of Carowinds Blvd. I saw the sign and remembered reading something about this place. According to the owner, they've been open 3 months. She also mentioned that their website is in development and should go live in a couple of weeks.
I was expecting a takeout/diner type atmosphere w/ metal chairs and tables. What I found was a nice place w/ rustic wooden tables & chairs (leather backed), a full bar and a couple of domino tables too. The menu is quite extensive and more expensive that what I would've expected. They have a more limited lunch menu that has better prices and they have a takeout window too. I wanted something to-go and was waited on by the owner at the takeout window. I knew I had to try their media noche and sandiwch Cubano (only difference between the two is the bread) and the empanadas on the menu were calling my name. They had several different stuffings and I asked her what she suggested. She recommended the beef empanadas.
The empanadas were unbelieveably tasty! Seasoned ground beef with green & red bell peppers with sauteed onions served on the side - I fell in love from the first bite. They were $1.25/piece and well worth it. I'd return for them alone. The media noche and cuban sandwich were both very good as well. I preferred the media noche because the bread was more like that which I remember having in Miami. They were filled w/ the traditional roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. I think they were $6.95/each. I used to visit Carlos' Cafe in Rock Hill and I think the sandwiches here at A Piece of Havana are better.
It was a very good lunch. Some dishes on their dinner menu included ropa vieja, churrasco Cubano and vaca frita (blade meat boiled & grilled crispy and served w/ black beans, rice and plantains). I've attached some photos I took w/ my iphone.
(i'm having photo issues - I'll get them up soon)
re: Ciao Italia Foodie
Thanks - It's the little things. :)
Yea, if u look at the 3rd photo (cuban sand) there is a very thin layer of pork (white) on top of two slices of ham - its practically non-existent. I do know that different parts of Florida prepare the Cuban differently. Say Tampa vs. Miami. But I suppose everything is up to interpretation these days.
Wow, I wish I would have read this review before we went last week . (Dinner time)
Because this is strange. Just strange.
We were in the area and in the mood for a Cuban sandwich.The last time I had one was in Florida*delicious*. We ended up ordering the Sampler so we could try a little a this and that. The croquettes filled with ham and cheese were tasty as the tamales and even the Cuban meatballs had a nice flavor,but the empanadas were ,eh, not to mention cold.
Where the strange part comes in is the Cuban sandwich. I anxiously sunk my teeth into that sucker and said hum? No roast/pulled pork like I have had in the past.
I sucked it up to "every place does their thing" But I even mentioned my disappointment to our server, who was great, that I was expecting the Cuban sandwich to have been prepared with the pork. His response "Yes, others have mentioned that this sandwich here is not like the ones they are use to"
HUH ,what the heck ? Now I see this and you say you had one WITH the pork. Strange.
It was like eating an ordinary ham and cheese with pickles and mustard. ( the bread was right)
The sangria was good not too sweet.The Tres leche was great, the flan was my favorite.
While the place was nice it was open and bright (a little to bright for my taste) I could not see myself here for a relaxing dinner and drinks. The lighting and music (not live) combination left us feeling like we had the motivation for the high energy non stop dancing that GFL mentions about the entertainer they have on the weekends.
Good thing we skipped the offered Cuban espresso. HA HA
BTW never been to Carlo's Cafe.
re: Ciao Italia Foodie
Both of my sandwiches (media noche & the Cubano) had roast pork - HOWEVER, it was a very thin slice and you may not have noticed it was there. When I return, I will ask for more pork b/c I thought it was a bit skimpy on the pork. Did u have the beef empanadas? I really enjoyed those.
Yes, it was the beef empanadas that was part of the sampler appetizer but (no onions on the side) One empanada was split and we agreed the filling dry ,crumbly and cold to boot.The 2 pieces of roast pork chunks also on the sampler where a bit tough and also cold to our disappointment.The yucca again cold and flavorless.Definite inconsistency because the tamale, croquettes and the meatballs were steaming.
Now back to the sandwich . We asked the server if perhaps different parts of Cuba prepare the Cuban sandwich differently.(Like Italian cooking. Different regions of Italy prepare "Italian"dishes differently.) Is that why mine was prepared W/O the roast pork? Like I said, his response was "Yes,people have said this sandwich here is not like the one they are use to."
IF it had the pork on it and I ate it without knowing because like you say, it was very little, I'm sure he would have said ,there was pork on the sandwich.
That's why I said it was strange.
On the bright side,we like to think we burned off all the calories from our dinner just by listening to the music. ha ha
This was only first visit ,I hate to judge a place on one visit but IF we go back we will make sure it's a weekend visit to enjoy the entertainment.
Mrs. G. and I had dinner here with another couple about a month ago. We all had a blast.
The food was really quite tasty. I had the lechon asado or roast pork. While not the very best I ever had it was very good. It was served with rice and black beans and plantains. The Tres leches cake for desert was fantastico. The atmosphere was tons of fun they have a live Cuban singer accompanied by a karaoke machine. He is very high energy and non stop mambo's, cha cha and salsa's his butt off.