415 Lafayette Street,
Phone: (212) 726-7755
I don’t know about you, but boy am I glad to see Chino Latino Asia De Cuba move back into town… into the space that formerly housed Butter, nonetheless. Their savory-sweet Crispy Calamari and Banana Salad is back and just as good as I remembered it. And so are a few other signatures, like the Tuna Tartare and the Crab Dumplings, though much of the menu has been reinvented by Cuban native, chef Luis Pous, who made a splash at Little Palm Island with his Cuban-cum-French cooking.
At Asia De Cuba, Puis is trying his hand at a fusion of Latin and Asian cuisines, dreaming up Black Bean & Plantain Empanadas, Shrimp Churros, and Barrio Chino Steak. There’s a slew of tasty Ceviches, including a beautifully balanced Scallop ceviche with grapefruit and pork cracklings, and supremely fresh ribbons of Fluke with Mojo Amarillo and Sofrito Crudo. Puis has a masterful way with duck so try the Roasted Duck Salad with Marcona Almonds and Mandarin Orange as well as the Mojo Duck Confit, ingeniously bound by a Poached Egg and brown rice.
While I’m often wary of fusion, the unexpected combination works wonders to invigorate everything from a Rocoto Glazed Black Cod with a delicious avocado poblano puree and a terrific dish, dubbed Veal Vaca Frita, consorting with yuca, mushrooms, Chinese broccoli and bean sprouts. And whatever you do, get a side of Creamy Congri with Manchego. Desserts are fun, like Tres Leches De Chocolate, Guava Whipped Cheesecake and Sweet Potato Bunuelos. Or you could just order another finely made Mojito, a rite of passage at Asia De Cuba, and people watch a stylish, downtwon crowd.