Pop Up "Paladar" at Cuba Libre Next Week
I was reading this article in today's Daily News about Chef Guillermo Pernot and his visits to Cuba and saw the mention that he would be bringing some Cuban chefs to Cuba Libre to host some pop up dinners.
My wife and I decided to book seats and managed to get the Wednesday 6:00 seating for our foursome (Both seatings on Friday are already booked and Thursday at 6:00 only had 3 seats left). Considering that Restaurant Week goes for $35/pp (and I am totally over RW), I thought this was a pretty good deal for $39/pp. More info and menu here if anyone else is interested...
Here is a report on the Paladar...
The event took place in the upstairs "loft" dining area of the restaurant. Tables were set up to accommodate 40 diners (10 diners per group of tables). I thought the seating was a little tight, but luckily for us, 4 people did not show at our table, so we were able stretch out a bit. Out of the 40 seats, it looked like there were 6 no-shows.
Before the first course, each table was served a plate of mini bites of pineapple mousse wrapped in Serrano ham. We also received a plate of tamarind glazed pork shoulder bites. The Serrano ham bites were really good, but the pork bites were a little dry (but the tamarind sauce was good).
Courses were as follows...
Crudo de langosta (lobster salad, pineapple sorbet with truffle-oil-infused black sesame seeds)
Probably my favorite course of the evening. The lobster was cut into bite size pieces with a scoop of sorbet. I thought the sweetness of the lobster paired well with the mild tartness of the sorbet.
Ravioles (eggplant-wrapped ravioli with lamb ropa vieja filling)
Instead of pasta, eggplant was used as the wrapping for the ravioles. The dish was presented and our server then topped it by pouring mint tea into the bowl. The lamb was tender and very tasty.
Jabalí (baby wild boar rib chop, sour orange canela compte, Yuca tamal)
This dish was comprised of two lollipop boar chops set on top of the yuca tamal. The tamal had bits of pork in it and a bit of pepper that gave it just enough heat.
Flan de queso (Pategras cheese flan, guayaba coulis, ajo confitado).
A wonderful flan that was topped with bits of garlic (yes...garlic!) and guava sauce. My brother in law thought it was one of the best flans he had ever had.
As for wine, a pairing of a Chilean white and red was offered (for $15). The white accompanied the first two courses and the red was served with the boar.
After dinner, Chef Pernot and Chef Lucio made the rounds. My wife and my in-laws speak fluent Spanish, so they chatted with Chef Lucio when he came to our table. I'm a gringo, so I just shook his hand and said "gracias". However, I did mention to Chef Pernot that we really missed Pasion. He said that he missed it as well.
All in all, we enjoyed the meal and hope to attend more of these in the future. The next one is slated for June and we are on the email list to receive notification.