1 at 18th St.; C, E at 23rd St.
14th St. to 23rd St., Fifth Ave. to West Side Hwy.
This venue is closed.
Owner Thomas Vicari may not have conducted a citywide comparison before hanging a “Best Cuban Sandwiches” sign in the front window of Casa Havana, but his juicy version, layered with roast pork, ham, melted Swiss, and tart pickles, indeed makes for stellar, robust eating. As does ropa vieja, or “old clothes” of tender, shredded beef flecked with bay leaves. When Havana Chelsea, the scruffy, long-time Cuban joint that used to be here, closed down, locals were bereft. For his spiffy successor, Vicari kept the old chef, and continues to peddle rustic Cuban fare with the same menu, prices, and humble roots: You still pay on your way out, by the door. The luncheonette’s looks have changed for the better, however. The slender space now has butterscotch walls splashed with colorful murals of Cuban street scenes; a fire-engine-red counter flanked by vinyl stools; and wood-paneled ceilings. A jukebox booms tropical tunes: Bachata, merengue, salsa – and some Shakira for good measure. Vicari’s especially proud of the fresh ingredients: “The only thing frozen here are the ice cubes,” he says.Recommended Dishes
Cubano sandwich $6; ropa vieja $11.95