Took the family to Habana today for a lunch. we were thinking about La Condessa for brunch, but it got late after the book festival. We got seated out in fton in one of the little cabanas, the mulato beer was very good and a virgin mojito for the boy was a nice departure from lemonade. The cuba libre was good.
We started with the mofongo, tamal and plantain chips. The mofongo was just oustanding, the ropa vieja sauce was good, but the the mofongo had a wonderful unctuous texture and an earthy, smoky bacon kind of flavor that was very satisfying. Could be one of my favorite appetizers in town, but it is heavy. The tamal was very tasty, the masa was sweet and creamy. The taste was very light, not very oily, the habanero salsa will definitely light you up. The plantain chips were pretty plain, but we ended up getting a couple of servings of the mojo sauce it came with, which was simply addicting. Used it on everything throughout the meal.
The mains were good. My wife had a sandwich made from a plantain and stuffed with ham and roasted pork, she enjoyed it along with the sweet plantains and black beans. My fried black drum was very good. Light, clean tasting, no "dirty" taste that you sometimes get from tilapia or catfish. It was a cracker crust that was well seasoned served with limes to brighten it up, that kind of breading can use a sauce of some kind. Adding the mojo sauce to it make it outstanding. The rice wasn't a standout, but everything else had been.
We'll definitely go back. 4 appetizers, 2 entrees and drinks was $64.
Side story: The waitress told us that some other people had been in earlier and were mad that they didn't have chips and salsa "I thought all you people liked chips and salsa" a woman told her. The waitress is Puerto Rican and managed not to strangle the lady... She said after they got their food, they were even more upset saying how awful it was, they left their food untouched, paid the check and bolted. She said she would have voided the food but they were too mad and in too big a hurry (and the "you people" comment would have helped me wanting to help them...)
I love the Habana on South Congress. I haven't had a bad meal there. It's rarely crowded and easy to park. The best thing is the fried potato ball, I'm not sure what it is called. It's meat surrounded by cheesy mashed potatoes then fried. Delicious. I don't know what everything is called, but I love the roasted pork and the stewed chicken.