Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Asia de Cuba - an NYC delight!

Last night Rick and I made our way over to Madison between 37th and 38th, and found the secret entrance to Asia de Cuba. OK, it's not really a secret, but you could easily walk by if you didn't know it was there. When you walk in the door, floor to ceiling sheer curtains blow around you as you approach the maitre 'd. It's very dramatic! We checked our coats and headed to the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. We sat on these high bar chairs which allow you to look down over the whole dining room. Last night the sheers were back lit with red lights rather than the white in these photos I snagged from their web site. We ordered a couple of red sangrias ($8) which were delicious!
Next we moved to the dining room, and we sat at a table from the perspective of this photo, where we could see the light box mural of the waterfall. We came for restaurant week, and the waiter explained that for 2 people, the restaurant week menu includes 2 appetizers and 1 entree. There was some kind of climbing scale as you add people to your table. You can find this on the web site I'm sure - do take a look if you are planning to go. Our first appetizer was a dish of beautifully seared sea scallops. Rick even ate one :) The were fresh and light, and very very large, with 4 on a plate. The next appetizer was an order of beef dumplings. We love steamed pork dumplings and always order them for take out. This order had 3 fried and 3 steamed - I liked the fried ones. The were crisp all over and filled with a beefy mixture that still had tiny chunks of beef in it. There was a nice sweet sauce, and it was a nice combination. The steamed dumplings I didn't care for - the filling was mushy, without a nice flavor and they fell apart. The presentation was beautiful - I wish I'd remembered my camera.
For the entree, we ordered the bbq chicken. It. Was. Amazing. This was a true fusion dish - the sauce was just great - spicy, sweet, salty, sour - all that ying/yang stuff. I wish there had been enough to take home, because I would love some for lunch today! (sniff...)
After the entree, the waiter said that a dessert was included with our restaurant week meal. He suggested the coconut cake, and it was good. The cake layers were essentially macaroons, and it was served with a delicious ice cream. The serving was very large - there must have been 3000 calories in that cake alone. Thankfully we were able to exercise some restraint and only ate a small part. The remaining hunk of cake was whisked away - I'm kind of surprised they didn't ask us if we wanted to take it home, but we dodged the rest of that calorie bullet!
When the bill came, we had a bit of a surprise. I knew there was a $10 surcharge on the scallops as it was noted on the menu. What it didn't say was it per person. So the scallop appetizer costed us $20 more. If I had known, I wouldn't have ordered it. The other thing was we asked the waiter about the pitcher of sangria, and whether it was a better deal than the glasses. He indicated it was, but infact, sangria is actually cheaper by the glass.
Even though the charges were a sour end to the meal, I would go back (and not order the scallops or a pitcher of sangria). The drama of the atmosphere and quality of food was good. Plus it's a quick walk from the apartment :)