Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cafe Habana - Because Grandma Fung Says So! (New York City)

Cafe Habana

Cafe Habana To-Go

After stumbling around the Lower East Side and the SoHo area on 1 hour of sleep on Jetblue, I discovered something new I could accomplish: falling asleep while walking. Buy me a drink and maybe I'll tell you the story of me stumbling into this poor Chinese woman. So I digress.....After getting some doughnuts at Donut Plant for breakfast, I was ready for something savory. So I met up with my old friend Dan of a.k.a.dandy at Cafe Habana, a place Jackie (aka Grandma Fung, aka Citynitz) said I HAD to visit!

Cafe HabanaCafe Habana


Since the regular Cafe Habana was packed with diners, we ended up going to Cafe Habana To-Go, which is geared mainly for to-go orders, or a quick dining experience, a la cafeteria style. The menu are identical (sans an alcohol menu), so eating here was definitely a good alternative. After looking at the menu, I was recommended to get the grilled steak sandwich, and of course, their famous Grilled Corn, Mexican Style.

Steak Sandwich @ Cafe Habana

Grilled Steak Sandwich ($9.25)

The sandwich itself was quite tasty. There were an ample amount of steak, which was cooked medium. Along with the steak (which I believe was skirt steak), there was a good amount of grilled vegetables. With the added Cuban spicy green sauce (not pictured), it added a nice kick to the sandwich. Although the sandwich was tasty, it was nothing special, and was not the reason I was at Cafe Habana.

Grilled Mexican Corn @ Cafe HabanaGrilled Mexican Corn @ Cafe Habana

Grilled Corn Mexican Style (Elote) ($2)

Yes, I came here for this. Cafe Habana's famous Grilled Corn. Told of this particular dish by Citynitz a few months ago, I was hoping to try this during my visit, and boy I'm glad I did. As you know, the Elote is made simply by brushing the grilled corn in melted butter, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and a sprinkling of red chili powder. With a squeeze of the lime, it added a nice acidity to the corn, and in turn, making it a fantastic dish!

All in all, Cafe Habana was a solid, but not spectacular restaurant. My recommendation would be to stop by and try the grilled corn (elote) and eat your main meal at another restaurant. At $2 per corn, it's a rather affordable snack, especially factoring in NYC prices. As an additional tidbit, Cafe Habana will be opening their first West Coast location in Malibu, CA sometime this Spring, so to my fellow So Cal peeps: Check out some Elote!

Cafe Habana New York
17 Prince St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 625-2001
Official Website

Cafe Habana in New York


CITYNITZ said...

We're hitting up this place when they open in Malibu. That's not a question either! =P Love the pics!

Gastronomer said...

Oh, dang. That corn looks mad good. I have a sneaking suspicion that we can find it somewhere in LA. It's Mexican corn for Pete's sake.

dustin said...


Wesley said...

I need to find an Elote man now.

Pandalicious said...

omg, you went to donut plant!?! i love that place!! and i dont even like donuts!!

Anna A. said...

Mmmmm that's a nice looking you ear you got there. I think I would have chosen the shroom and goat cheese torta tho ;)) Glad to hear they're coming out west!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

this is one of my favorite restaurants in NY! i love it!

Kung Food Panda said...

Grandma Fung: Count me in! More elote for me! :)

Cathy: Do we need an elote throwdown or something? Like what you guys are doing for them tacos.

Dustin: No Prob! I'll just take it and eat it so it won't be in front of your face! :)

Wesley: Let's go find one!

Amy: Donut Plant & Cafe Habana. First 2 meals in NYC!

Anna: The sandwich was good, but I think most tourists go there for the corn. The torta do sound tasty though...

Nastassia: I assume you'll be going to the new Malibu location too? :)

Ravenous Couple said...

when we moved to LA, on of the first things we did was recreate this dish..since then, we've been making it all the bbq all last summer

Kung Food Panda said...

Hong: Ahhhhh!! Invite me next time if you make it! :P

Ravenous Couple said...

@gastronomer: we've seen these elotes all over, but it's not grilled like at cafe habana--the ones we've seen are all boiled..