2017-05-03 / Restaurant of the Week

Sabor De CUBA

Sabor de Cuba is the perfect cure for a bad day at work. As soon as you step through the door you’ll feel the vibe of the gentle Cuban rhythms change your mood. Add to that intoxicating aromas coming from the kitchen and the sight of mouth-watering platters of Cuban and Caribbean cuisine parading through the sultry dining room, and suddenly you’re smiling, and hungry!

Don’t wait for the weekend to savor the fabulous cuisine at Sabor de Cuba. Visit any night and let the day melt away while you sip on their specialty cocktails served at low prices during happy hour from 12pm to 7pm daily. You’ll see the list outside next to a bench that makes a great waiting spot until your friend arrives. The signature “Sanjito” is a delightful concoction of wine, passion fruit, lemon and mint while the mojitos and margaritas quench your thirst. Order a pitcher of red or white Sangria full of chopped fruit for your table and let the fun begin.

All their cocktails, wines, and beer selections are cleverly printed on a wine bottle on your table, and the menu is presented to you inside authentic Cuban cigar boxes. Sabor de Cuba is a great place for drinks and appetizers after work, or a full meal with friends and family. The dining room is decorated with art and objects from Cuba. Even the umbrella holder is made from a conga drum.

Start with tempting appetizers, or “tapas,” that are big enough to share and beautifully presented. Croquetas are full of savory ham and mild seasonings, fried into crispy morsels that are ideal for sharing ($10). We devoured the tender, crispy rings of calamari with a slightly spicy dipping sauce and will try the stuffed baked clams next time. The Cubanito is a mini Cuban sandwich filled with roasted pork, ham, cheese and pickles that can be shared by two ($11). Mofongitos de Mariel are made with mashed plantains that house an adobo-infused mix of seafood, including shrimp, calamari, and baby squid ($14). For something unique, try the arepa con cola, composed of a mini corn cake called an “arepa,” topped with slow-cooked oxtail and a dainty fried quail egg for a combination of tastes and textures that will delight you. The gals just next to us dined on Fritas Cubanas, which are Cuban style sliders made with ground beef and chorizo sausage that smelled and looked delicious. House made empanadas are filled with either beef, chicken, or vegetables and mild spices so a sampling of these delicate parcels is perfect for after work munching at the bar with sangria, or as a first course.

Entrées include the chef’s take on some classic Cuban dishes such as Ropa Vieja, which literally means ‘old clothes,’ and consists of slow-cooked, pulled beef, green olives, and mild spices that make this dish so unique and delicious. It is served in a cast iron skillet along with a generous helping of black beans and rice ($18.95). Shrimp in fragrant garlic sauce never fails to please, and it’s served here with tostones and avocado. Grilled salmon or the mahi-mahi are great fish options. We went for the Pescado Habana which is perfectly cooked, flaky mahi-mahi, served with sweet, toothsome coconut rice and sweet plantains. If you prefer meat, you can’t surpass the grilled skirt steak, juicy, thick pork chops, or chicken stuffed with chorizo sausage. Order an avocado salad or grilled asparagus to share, along with a bottle of red or white wine from their well-chosen, reasonably priced wine list.

Everything at Sabor de Cuba is made from scratch, and presented like artwork, making a meal here a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Save room for the tempting desserts, the most popular of which is the tres leches cake, made with three types of milk, as the name suggests, and drizzled with homemade caramel sauce. Castro de chocolate is a kind of moussey lava cake and the bread pudding is topped with brandy anglaise sauce, while the passion fruit custard is light and cool. It shouldn’t surprise you that the coffee is great here. The classic cortadito is rich and robust and will keep you going long after your meal.

Sabor de Cuba has a weekday lunch from 10am to 3pm for just $10 which includes steak with onions, chicken stew, or fish dishes. Sunday brunch is served from 12pm to 5pm and the low price of $19.95 includes a brunch cocktail and a satisfying entrée that will keep you going all day. Make any day a fiesta at Sabor de Cuba where you’ll be surrounded by the sounds, aromas, and flavors of Cuban and Caribbean cuisine. Stroll on over from the N/W/R trains and enjoy a walk home, as you’ll be stuffed with joy and lots of delicious food. Buen provecho!

37-03 31st Avenue
Astoria  718.777.1693


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