Restaurant Review: Cienfuegos
95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Atmosphere: A riff on the restaurants that operate from house kitchens in Cuba post-revolution. Overall, very dark and intimate. Perfect for a date or to bring a few friends for a quieter night.
What type of date: The girl or guy you bring here really has to like to eat. Even though the portions are meant to share, the food is heavy (delicious, but heavy) and traditional Cuban food is not known to be particularly healthy. Your date needs to be able to have a little fun and not be worried about ruining their juice cleanse. I definitely witnessed a lot of first dates occurring and I would definitely recommend this place as venue to get to know one another.
Drinks: One of the main attractions at Cienfuegos is the variety of punch bowls. We tried the Bright and Sunny which tastes like a fancy alcoholic version of ginger lemonade. My date thought it was a little on the sweet side but I loved it. Next time I will probably try one of their spicier punches like the Funky Old Man From Martinique. While one punch bowl was a lot for the two of us, I think it's definitely worth splurging for one to share.
What we ordered: All of the plates were to share. I wouldn't call what we ate dinner - more like a lot of well-portioned snacks that were filling and delicious
Crispy Avocado: Why have I never had this before? The softness of the avocado and the crunch of the breading was unreal.
Beef Empanadas with a yogurt chimichurri sauce: Traditional Fried Cuban empanadas. I don't even love empanadas but these were perfectly balanced in terms of the spiciness of the meat with the sauce.
Tres Leches: I was expecting a traditional slice of cake when we ordered this but in order to make it easier to share, we were presented with three cupcakes topped with the tres leches icing and soaked in a milk sauce. This was a delicious dessert and definitely worth going back for.
Churros: So for two people two desserts was admittedly excessive, but these churros were phenomenol. Growing up in Orlando, I am very familiar with the burnt/overcooked/stale churros that are sold in theme parks and therefore was very hesitant to order them. However, these were perfectly prepared with sides of chocolate and condensed milk. If I had to pick one dessert to go with I would choose the Tres Leches, but both were really excellent.