Last Monday night it was my fabulous boyfriend’s 2_th birthday 🙂
For over a month I planned a surprise party (approximately 13 of us) for him at his favorite Cuban restaurant in the city, Cuba. Since M is half Cuban himself (a Jewban as he likes to call himself), his search for great Cuban food has taken us all over Manhattan. Many times over. He swears up and down, however, that Cuba is his favorite. The irony? Their menu seems to encompass some Spanish flair (aka the paella which is his favorite menu item) in there as well. Despite the slightly Spanish influence, Cuba delivers.
I called in advance, seeking help planning M’s surprise party. I could not have been met by a more accommodating attitude from the party ‘planner’ Ricardo or a better deal/bang for our buck. Monday are $5 apps and $5 drinks. Christmas Hanukkah come early. I hate asking people to come to expensive dinners for Birthday’s, it’s so pre-recession. So this special made me confident we could walk out with a low per-head bill and a couple of drinks in our system to boot.
The surprise was executed perfectly. My younger brother arrived early to set up the decorations and figure things out. They had given us a huge area on the downstairs level right next to the bar (well played, Ricardo, well played) which was semi-private. As per my request, when M and I arrived the hostess asked us to wait (and had also changed the reservation to “Sara/2″ instead of Sara/13” in the computer per my request…) and went down to alert the surprisers that we were there. We walked downstairs and M was absolutely shocked. Had no idea. So that aspect was simply perfect.
EAT: Comida, obvi.
I have been to Cuba three times and all three times every single person with me (by now we have been with approximately 20 different people to CUBA thanks to this soiree…) has had rave reviews.
Some of the higlights:
- $5 ceviche. This huge pile of delicious fresh tasting ceviche was incredible. I actually threatened (after 3+ $5 sangrias) to never cook again on Monday nights.
- Grilled salmon. I HATE citrus glazes. HATE HATE HATE. Almost as much as wall to wall carpet and the suburbs. I digress. They were more than happy to accommodate my bizarre aversion and grilled the salmon with delicious spice sans citrus. This is more of a shout of to their accommodating style than the actual food since plain grilled salmon tends to be plain grilled salmon….
- Paella – the point of the voyage. M was thrilled to chow down on his favorite paella. I still think Socarrat is just as good, but don’t tell the BF I said so…
Pretty much everything on the menu was ordered, and everything was enjoyed. There are few places so willing to accommodate a party (without a prixe-fixe meal, $$ guarantee etc. etc.) I would HIGHLY recommend Cuba on a normal night or for a big group.
222 Thompson Street
New York, NY 10012