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The much anticipated reopening of Asia de Cuba in New York has finally transpired. Ever since Jeffrey Chodorow’s original Asia de Cuba was closed in 2011 after the Morgan’s Hotel remodel, customers have been begging for it to return to New York City. There are currently locations in London, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi that are extremely successful and constantly packed.
With the reopening of Asia de Cuba in New York, Jeffrey Chodorow hired and brought in Cuban chef Luis Pous from Miami to help him “reinvent” the menu. The old Asia de Cuba was well known for its celebrity sitings rather than its notorious cuisine and it was Chodorow’s desire to change all of that (He wanted it both ways). Celebrity guests included stars such as Lady Gaga, Michael Jordan, Bradley Cooper, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and a lunch date for the ladies of Sex and the City in a 2004 episode.
Chodorow’s dream this time around is to have diners come and experience the true beauty, authenticity, and deliciousness of Havana, Cuba’s Chinatown. The cooking techniques, Chodorow believes, are very unique and untraditional to both Cuban and Chinese cultures. Chef Pous’s idea for the menu was to introduce ingredients and flavors that Cubans would have used in Cuba during the past 50 years if they’d had access to them. It’s a beautiful example of New York at large today with cultural diversity being transferred into a carte du jour experience.
Older patrons of Asia de Cuba will be pleasing surprised by the seductive décor of the new restaurant on Lafayette Street. Successful designer Rafael de Cardenas (Cartier, Nordstrom, Barneys, and Nike to name a few projects) has cleverly incorporated both Cuban and Asian influences into the space while keeping it minimal. The restaurant has a 1950’s ‘Mad Men’ feel to it; somewhere people can escape the city and grab a cocktail and yummy food to eat in privacy. There are no windows for celebrity gawkers so please be sure to book a table when planning to dine.
Words by Jessika Brown, Photos asiadecuba.com