So you think you can Cuban?

I don’t know what it is about the media these days that has me finding inspiration in the most random of places. This week I began watching one of my favorite shows of all time: So you think you dance? Alright alright, I’m a total  fan. There, I said it. 

In search for something to eat that would get my taste buds moving, I decided to visit Margon Restaurant, a tiny, loud Cuban eatery located in Midtown, on 46th street and 6th Avenue. Undettered by the unassuming entrance, I went inside and found myself in what at first seemed like a comfort food haven. On the left side of this small space was a cornucopia of trays brimming with beef stew, roasted chicken, red beans, yellow and white rice, plantains, octopus and avocado salads, and other Cuban classics. 

The place was buzzing with regulars, young preppy employees from nearby offices, tough-looking construction workers seeking to refuel on their break, and a couple of adventurous tourists finishing their coffee and flans while studying maps of the city. The place was definitely alive and vibrant with energy, people in line, ordering, eating, waiting for empty seats, talking and laughing. This place is a far cry from a restaurant, it’s more like a cafeteria, but is somewhere you can easily become a regular, offering simple, hearty home-cooked Latin fare.

Although the food seemed every bit authentic at first, transporting me to some forgotten spot in Miami’s Little Havana, the overall experience left me disappointed. I ordered the roasted chicken, white rice, red beans and maduros(sweet ripe plantains). The food was served not in a plate, but in an aluminum container. Had they run out of plates? 

The rice was fresh and red beans creamy and delicious, but the roasted chicken was swimming in an oily mess and the avocado was overly mushy and past its prime. Everybody else around me didn’t seem to mind, however. It is a place where you don’t have to worry about being too loud, where you can easily disappear into the crowd. 

I had read about Margon on www.midtownlunch.com, a blog that deemed it a culinary institution, raving about its Cuban sandwich and fruit shakes. I didn’t get the chance to taste either of these and perhaps I’ll have to if I ever go back. In the meantime, I’ll stick to giving my palate a whirl with my own versions of Cuban at home.

7 Responses to So you think you can Cuban?

  1. Mindy says:

    Oh, Karina! There’s no such thing as Cuban food in NYC. After four years of searching, I gave up and decided to pig out on the real thing everytime I visit Miami instead 🙂

  2. Hey, nice post, really well written. You should blog more about this.

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  6. gry says:

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