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Cabana: From Cuba to Aruba, Cabana spices up Forest Hills

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Cabana Restaurant

107-10 70th Road

Forest Hills

263-3600

Come and enter the world of Cabana — with its hot pastel décor, tempting cool drinks and enticing flavors from Cuba to Aruba. Come escape to the wonderful world of Cuban, Bahamian and Caribbean cooking that is spicing up Forest Hills

Much like the lively alley cafés of the Caribbean islands, Cabana is a bustling Nuevo Latino restaurant and bar. And like the streets of Havana, Cabana’s dining room is narrow and tight. You will get to know your dining neighbors quite intimately. Don’t think of this as a disadvantage — you will make new friends and get a wonderful education on the food Cabana has to offer. On the night of our visit we made several acquaintances and found ourselves sharing and sampling appetizers, entrees and Cabana’s sinful desserts. Please make a note of the phrase “sinful desserts” — it will be a sin if you don’t leave room to enjoy one.

Everyone at Cabana makes you feel welcome. From the hostess to the waitress they all have a smile. This is truly a fun place to dine. To begin the evening our waitress, Maria, delivered Cabana’s main menu along with telling us the specials for the evening. She was very helpful and patient in explaining how some of the items were prepared. In addition, Maria suggested some wonderful drink specials that Cabana was featuring on this hot September night. One item everyone should try is Mojito, also knows as, Cuban lemonade. This special drink features rum, sugar, fresh squeezed lime juice and mint leaves, and it is dressed with a sugar cane stick. This tart but interesting flavor is something to be experienced. My companion was enticed with Cabana’s version of a Cosmopolitan martini which is made with Bacardi Limon instead of plain vodka. This is a drink sensation all Cosmopolitan lovers should try.

The menu at Cabana is large and filled with many specialty items from Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. When possible I strongly recommend sharing so everyone gets to experience the nuances of flavor this unique fare has to offer.

For starters, my companion and I decided to share Bocadillos, a mixed sampler platter of conch fritters, vegetable fritters, jerk chicken wings and beef patties. Served piping hot both in temperature and spices, this is a delightful sampling of the various island influences. The generous portion is perfect for two.

For her entrees, my companion selected one of the fresh fish specials, grilled halibut marinated in tarragon and garlic served over fried yucca. As a compliment to the flavorful light fish, black beans and rice were served. From the wonderful presentation to the freshness of the fish this dish proved to be a marvelous choice.

My entree selection was a feature of the regular menu. A category of jerk specialties attracted my interest, enticing me to order Jamaican jerk pork. This is a large portion of loin of pork medallions marinated in Caribbean spices and hot peppers, basted with Jerk barbecue sauce and grilled over an oak fire. This flavor sensation made my taste buds dance the lambada. The pork was thin and tender while the marinade, although spicy, offered a perfectly balanced taste sensation. Rice and beans were served with this dish as well.

Just when you thought it was safe to stop eating you realize its time for dessert. This is the real hidden treasure of Cabana. Each selection is unique and the presentations are sensational. Our choices included raspberry rice pudding served in a pastry shell, with two scoops of mango ice cream. Our second selection included chocolate brownies, covered with chocolate sauce, dollops of whipped cream and served with two scoops of coconut ice cream. These are truly unique dessert offerings that are a must try for everyone. After dessert, sit back, enjoy a nice hot double espresso and compare notes with your neighbor so you’ll know what to order on your next visit. This is the perfect way to end your culinary island tour.

During our visit we did meet some wonderful people. Everyone was friendly and wanted to compare selections, so it is with good authority that I can suggest other menu items. Getting rave reviews from our neighbors was arroz con pollo, traditional paella and the fresh salmon special. It should be noted that the fish is delivered daily to Cabana.

The Bottom Line

This is wonderful dining experience. Enjoy the variety of Caribbean island influences and be sure to leave room for dessert.

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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