Looking for a sexy new restaurant with fabulous food and cocktails? The menu and ambiance at Calle Dao (38 West 39th Street, NYC) will transport you to the sultry Havana of yesteryear. Calle Dao's Cuban & Chinese fusion cuisine is a tribute to Havana's once-bustling Chinatown - at one time it was the largest in Latin America but now occupies just one street - Calle Cuchillo (Knife Street). The name Calle Dao combines the Spanish & Chinese words for this historic strip.
Calle Dao owner, Marco Britti, is also the proprietor of the popular Favela Cubana in NYC's Greenwich Village. Born and raised in Naples, Marco spent years in Brazil and Cuba learning about their culture, music and cuisine. An accomplished musician, Marco has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
Calle Dao's spacious bar is the perfect spot for a carefully crafted cocktail and a nibble. I highly recommend sipping on the sassy Revolución - a spicy & sweet blend of Habanero Infused Tequila, Ginger Canton, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Agave, Lemon, Absinthe & Hibiscus Salt. Yes, the ingredient list is long but the cocktail is beautifully balanced.
If you share my love of all things porky, an order of the crunchy & spicy Pig Ears is a must! These addictive thinly-sliced strips are marinated in ginger, lemongrass and garlic and seasoned with Spanish cayenne pepper, paprika, chili peppers and serrano peppers. They are then tossed with Hoisin sauce, cilantro and sesame oil. Continue the pork-fest in the dining room with an order of the tender and juicy Lechon Asado (Roasted Pig). Fantastic!
A great spot for a date or to dine with friends, I'll definitely go back to Calle Dao to explore more of their menu. A few items that caught my eye include the Peking-Style Roasted Cornish Hen, Smoked Bone Marrow with Seaweed Fried Rice, and the selection of Ceviches. And, in a burger-obsessed town, could Calle Dao's Goat Burger be the next big thing on a bun?