Insatiable Girl

NEW YORK: cafe habana

Posted in new york by sue on April 6, 2008

17 Prince St. (and Elizabeth St.)
New York, NY 10012

PRICE: $$ ($10-$20)
RATING: YYYYY (I love this place!)
DIRECTIONS: Take the 6 to Spring St. or the RW to Prince St.
RESERVATIONS: They don’t take any, so have fun waiting for an hour+ if you go during their busy times… or get it to go, but the wait is worth it!
MUST GET: grilled corn, grilled steak, roast pork

I can’t reiterate how much I love this restaurant. It’s cheap, the food is great, and it has the best corn I’ve ever had– need I say more? It’s one of my favorite restaurants in New York. My mouth is watering and my stomach is rumbling just thinking about it– no joke.

You can’t come to this restaurant without ordering their corn, so I highly recommend you don’t come here for your first date! The corn is served grilled smothered with cotija cheese and chili powder. It smells a bit funky when you first get it, but sprinkle some lime over it and take a bite. Two come per order, so split this starter with a friend unless you’re really greedy. Their cuban sandwich used to be the only entree I ordered which is quite ironic since I’m not a fan of ham or cheese, but it tastes so great I overlooked it. It’s roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, and pickles on pressed cuban bread. I usually got it without the pickles and smothered their habanero sauce (the green one!) all over it. After a few visits, I finally decided to venture out and try their other delicious dishes. I highly recommend their grilled steak and roast pork dishes. The grilled steak is really tender skirt steak while the roast pork is caribbean style shredded pork. They both come with rice and beans– I recommend getting it with yellow rice and red beans. Their chuleta de puerco a la pimenton (grilled pork chop and goat cheese toast with wild mushroom and chipotle au poivre sauce) is good too, but with all the other great dishes here I don’t think I’d get it again.. but heck you might be a huge fan goat cheese, so give it a shot. Their fish tacos aren’t bad either (they sure gave me my fix when I started missing home and wahoos), but the fish tacos at five points are a closer match to what I used to get back in la. Also, for the price of their fish tacos you might as well get the grilled steak or roast pork. And finally, they are opened for brunch too. I got their huevos rancheros which isn’t bad, but nothing to make my tummy rumble.

Cafe Habana is tiny. It’s also always packed, so prepare for a tight squeeze. They don’t take reservations, so have fun waiting but if you’re incredibly impatient go next door (on the Elizabeth Street side) and grab it to go. They have a don’t-fuck-with-me new york attitude when you put down your name, but the staff is always friendly… they’re just damn busy. Plus, this place doesn’t have AC! So make sure you grab a cold beer, Pacifico and Tecate are recommended– where else can you get these in New York? All I have left to say is:

Whatever, it’s worth it.

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