Cuban Chow

Cuban Chow

Guava Cobbler

I was lucky enough to experience a hefty and authentic slice of Cuba in Midtown Manhattan the other day. The hospitable people at Victor’s Café  arranged for a press lunch in order to showcase a genuine soup-to-nuts Cuban banquet. The cheery murals and comfortable leather banquettes created a relaxed environment for the spectacular explosions of textures and flavors that we were all about to experience. We started with ceviche of snapper, red onion, mango and avocado, a clean, fresh, citrusy marinade of seafood. This was followed by the “1492 aperitivo Cubano,” an assortment of appetizers that included smoked ham croquettes with a tomato-cachucha pepper sauce; sweet plantains, pork stuffing, black bean puree and goat cheese; and warm and soft yucca rolls filled with Creole shrimp and sheep’s milk cheese. Dessert was twofold: churros with three dipping sauces were delightfully sweet but a guava cobbler took the prize, with its buttery crumb topping and zing of guava flavor. Relatively unfamiliar with Cuban cuisine, I left the restaurant much more informed and impressed with our neighboring country and all its edible bounty. Victor’s Café, 236 W. 52nd St., 212.586.7714