Winter doldrums move over. A bit of Miami and a lot of Cuba has arrived! Havana Central, one of my favorite restaurants, has just opened its fourth location at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City. Wednesday night we got a sneak peak at their Grand Opening party!
Serving the most delicious mojitos outside of the Caribbean, Havana Central offers authentic Cuban cuisine and live Latin music in a luxurious tropical setting reminiscent of Havana’s pre-revolutionary resort lifestyle.
With a color palette of teal, coral and lush shades of green anchored with cooling shades of white, cream and gray, the new 13,ooo sq. ft. main dining room features cigar-toned leather booths draped in flowing curtains with slow moving ceiling fans that instantly transport diners to the by-gone era when Havana was called the “Paris of the Caribbean”.
The magnificent centerpiece bar, modeled after Havana’s original Sloppy Joe Bar, showcases bottles of rum in a striking mahogany case encircled with art deco pendant lights. Here, bartenders are mixing up Havana Central’s famous cocktails and muddling mint for their tangy and tasty mojitos. Patrons can also enjoy sangria and mojitos made tableside with fresh, tropical ingredients and premium liqueurs.
Jeremy Merrin, founder and president of Havana Central, opened the first Havana Central in Union Square 10 years ago and it is now the premier large-format Latin restaurant chain in the NY Metropolitan area. I was lucky enough to frequent the Times Square location often as it was just out the back door of my office building. My co-workers and I shared many a happy hour and “business” lunches there!
Says Merrin, “We’re excited to partner with Simon Properties at the best location on Long Island. Locals will now be able to experience the tastes, sounds and energy of pre-revolutionary Havana.”
Stanley Licairac, Havana Central’s corporate chef, designed the menus of traditional Cuban fare stating “We particularly aim to put those who grew up understanding that flavorful ingredients should be slowly cooked with love and passion, as Cuban food is, back in touch with their roots and make them feel at home. The opportunity to share the flavors, textures and colors of these comfort foods is at the heart of Havana Central’s offerings.”
Licairac’s passion is evident in each of his creations. We were treated to hors d’oeuvre versions of many of the classic dishes, along with a “design it yourself” Paella station. Chef Licairac’s Handmade Empanadas ($3) are crispy on the outside and fall apart in the mouth like a slow, savory stew. The Cuban Sandwich ($12) stuffed with smoked ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard is quintessential Cuban fare. Other signature dishes such as Pineapple Chicken Pollo con Piña ($15.50); Braised Beef, Peppers & Onions- Ropa Vieja ($17.50); Cuban Flan ($6) and my personal favorite, Tres Leches Cake ($8) can all be found at the Roosevelt Field location.
Coming out for this special ribbon-cutting event was the Mayor of Garden City, Donald T. Brudie as well as other noted local officials.
Havana Central’s spot among “Restaurant Row” at Roosevelt Field marks the third mid-scale opening in the past year and with other upgrades in the works for the mall, it is sure to become a regular destination for an extended experience that will keep attracting shoppers and diners alike.Havana Central Roosevelt Field Mall 630 Old Country Road Garden City, NY 11530
A full menu is served Sunday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. Weekday lunch specials available until 4 p.m.
Call 516-739-7900 for reservations or to book a private event in one of the three event spaces.
For additional information about Havana Central and its complete portfolio of properties, visit www.HavanaCentral.com.