Dave’s View: Positivity.
This word when used in a restaurant can really turn around situations that were not fantastic to begin with. While walking into Taste of Havana in Broad Ripple the other week, I noticed it wasn’t the tidiest of places to enter. The place looked like it’s been in a ten round heavyweight boxing match. The place is “beaten up”, but it has a small Puerto Rican café feel to it. Now I would say, Cuban feel to it, but I’ve never been to Cuba and the government wouldn’t give me clearance to go. Now I’ve had Cubano sandwiches before so I was extremely hungry for one, plus I’ve been hearing, it’s the best sandwich in the city. So I ordered the regular El Cubano sandwich with a side of Maduros, sweet plantains.
While waiting for my sandwich, there’s a large man with a broom handle mustache who looks like he should be lifting the stereotypical round bar bells at a traveling circus act that is passing thru town. If you were to make some fake bar bells and have him lift it over his head, he’s a dead ringer for this circus performer. Now, I’m not making fun of him, why, because not only he would break me in half like a twig, but this man has a spirit that can transform patrons in his restaurant. Here is what happened:
My Cubano finally arrives with the Maduros. I take a bit of the plantains and they are sweet. The sweetest plantains I have encountered anywhere. They are slightly cooked, lightly warmed and incredibly sweet. The plantains are the smaller type which I enjoy more than the larger size plantains, which in my opinion, taste too much like bananas and I don’t care for bananas. So I highly recommend to try the Maduros for any side you get at this restaurant.
Now to the sandwich. I’m sorry I can’t say it’s the best sandwich in the city, I can only say it’s average. The roasted pork was tender, the ham was slightly cold, and the Swiss Cheese was barely melted on my sandwich. So I was getting a cold and hot sensation in my mouth and I like my Cubanos warm throughout. The mustard was a typical spicy mustard and it didn’t save the sandwich either. It’s not horrible sandwich, but it wasn’t the best Cubano sandwich I’ve had. So you maybe asking, quit rambling about the food here and start talking about the spirit of the circus freak that runs this place? Whoa?!!? Freak is a hard word, don’t use the “F” word in front of me? Because he’s not a freak(sorry I used it again), even though my sandwich was average, it was his positive attitude that lifted my spirits and everybody in the restaurant. I would gladly go back to this restaurant and order the same thing, just to hear this man speak. The positivity of the restaurant abounds!
Added bonus: We sat next to the Gerber baby. There was a baby sitting next to us and he said it was the Gerber baby. I believe him.
Service: 9.75 Ambiance: 9 Food: 8 Total: 26.75 out of 30
$25-$35 with no adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages.
Andrea’s View: I normally love snow, however this winter, the snow is wearing out its welcome. Couple that with the almost daily below zero temps, and I am getting a bit grouchy. So, a little trip to Broad Ripple to eat some Cuban food was definitely needed. Dressed in the standard (for this year) scarf, gloves, hat, winter coat, and high heels, yes, I said high heels, I don’t own snow boots, Dave and I set out into the frozen and icy tundra for what we hoped were some good eats.
Taste of Havana is located right on Broad Ripple Avenue. Dave and I found some metered parking nearby, although I had a little trouble with meter since I really couldn’t tell which spot we were parked in since all of the parking lines were snow and ice-covered. But I managed an educated guess, and with cautious steps, and with Dave asking, “Really, Andrea, you had to wear high heels?”, we made it to the restaurant without incident.
Once inside, the tiny restaurant is bright and cheerful. You could almost forget that a new ice age had begun in Indianapolis. The owner and his daughter were incredibly nice and upbeat. Dave and I ordered our food at the counter, and as we were waiting for our sandwiches, the owner even gave me crap about my shoes. It made me feel right at home.
I had ordered the sandwich de chorizo and a side of plantains. The sandwich was ham, chorizo, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. Overall, I really liked the flavors of my sandwich, but I think I might have enjoyed it more if it had been toasted a tad bit longer. Now, I really don’t know how this sandwich is normally served, but I would have liked a little more meltiness of my cheese to hold the other meats together better. It may not even be the cook’s fault, maybe its really hard for anything to get warm when its zero degrees outside. My plantains, by the way, were outstanding. Just the perfect tropical and sweet snack to make me think it was spring.