Sherman's Food Adventures: Havana


I remember the first time I blogged about Havana out on Commercial Drive.  I remarked that, although their Cubano was tasty, it was not actually a Cubano.  Rather, it was a sandwich that resembled a burger which contained some of the ingredients of a Cubano.  As you can ascertain, authenticity was not a thing at old Havana.  I returned many years later and they had changed things up.  They added a theatre and their food was remarkably different.  Now, they have been taken over by the group that runs Postmark Brewing, Belgard Kitchen, and Vancouver Urban Winery.  We recently visited the place to see whether the change was a good one or not.

They now sport a more Latin tapas-themed menu and as such, we had to get the Patatas Bravas with garlic aioli and bravas sauce.  In terms of taste, this dish was on point with the smoky paprika really coming though while tempered by the creamy and aromatic aioli.  However, the cubes of fried potatoes were far too dense and firm.  They were underdone and not very crispy.  Fortunately, the next dish was remarkably better in the Avocado Tostones featuring twice-fried plantains, cotija cheese and pico de gallo. Although a touch soft from the wet ingredients on top, the plantains were mostly crispy and a bit nutty.  Ingredients were super fresh and light which meant this was a pleasant little bite.

Onto the possibly the best dish of the bunch was the Mussels Espana sporting 1lb of Salt Spring Island mussels, Two Rivers chorizo, cohiba sauce, white wine, tomato and grilled sourdough.  Beyond the buttery and extremely briny mussels, the broth was robust and zesty.  There was a nice spice that was balanced by an appealing tanginess.  Loved the chorizo as it not only added a meatiness, it was also aromatic.  We also got one of their flatbreads with the Porchetta.  There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with this dish as it featured a crispy crust with fairly nice leoparding.  It was nutty and chewy.  However, the combination of white cheddar, banana, mojo onions and cracklin was fairly flat.  There was no pop.  This could've used some form of spice or tang to bring it to life.

Okay, let's get the Cubano with porchetta, honey ham, swiss cheese, dill pickles and yellow mustard on a house Cuban bun.  Was it better than the original they had here?  Definitely.  This was pressed with a crunchy buttery exterior giving way to melty cheese and the saltiness of the ham and pickles.  Was it better than the ones I've had in Miami?  No, but this was pretty good for Vancity.  Couldn't say the same for the fries as they were just as dense as the patatas bravas.  Lastly, we got the Paella Negra with squid ink, prawns, mussels, chorizo, peas and sofrito.  Although lacking a rice crust, the paella was okay.  The texture of the rice was good being chewy.  It was fairly well-seasoned with some brininess.  Seafood was well-executed.  Overall, we thought the food at Havana was hit and miss.  A little more refinement is needed to bring the food up to the location and ambiance of the place.

The Good:
- Great patio
- Great location
- Good vibe

The Bad:
- Food is hit and miss


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