Havana Road has announced on its home page that it will be shutting down and calling it quits as of Sept 21, 2014. While I wish the owners and staff well, I won’t exactly be crying in my mojito over their closure…
Back about three years ago in 2011/December, I added a review on UrbanSpoon that summed up a very frustrating and discouraging dining experience at Havana Road.
“Generously, I’m thinking that Havana Road has had too many good reviews – every table was taken on a Sunday evening and the one waiter seemed overwhelmed. The “Hummus Trio” didn’t seem to correspond to what was on the menu description and the “hot Cuban bread” wasn’t even warm and tasted more stale than toasted. The soup of the day was a variation of the Garbanzo Bean Stew on the menu – the big difference was the soup of the day had chopped up garbanzo beans AND while it was tasty, the temperature at best was luke warm. It’s difficult to justify that the soup I got was priced $3 higher than the extremely similar soup that was priced at $5 on the menu.
While my friends like their Cuban and their Ropa Vieja sandwiches, my “Bistec Empanizado Sandwich” was really dried out and seemed over-cooked (which left me very much wishing that the waiter had re-filled my empty water glass!). The amount of carmelized onions and melted swiss cheese mentioned in the menu description was so small that it was hard to tell if they were there at all (I finally cornered the waiter and got him to bring some sauce to put on the overly dry beef; the waiter made a point of telling me that the sandwich is served without sauce for a reason (which seemed unnecessary and rude under the circumstances)
My friend ordered the “Havana Rio Green Beans” side dish – when it didn’t arrive with the sandwiches, he asked the waiter about it (who rushed over to the computer and I swear was just entering it). Despite the waiter’s assurance, the green beans finally arrived 30 minutes after our sandwiches (and without any apology from the waiter…) To our amazement, the green beans that supposedly had taken so long to cook were raw. We weren’t feeling like eating raw green beans (particularly when we had already finished eating our sandwiches before they finally showed up).and left them on the plate. We discussed the situation with the waiter – but he denied that they were raw and declined to remove them from our check (despite the fact that they arrived late, without apology and raw!!)
We were left with the feeling that both dining room and kitchen were under-staffed and that there was no manager on duty. We’re left with no desire to go back again and caution other UrbanSpoon readers that Havana Road has some serious issues.”
Judging from comments left on UrbanSpoon and Yelp! by other diners over time, I wasn’t the only one who had a pretty bad, “Thumbs Down!” type experience at Havana Road. In hindsight, maybe I just happened to hit Havana Road on a bad night and maybe I should have given it a second try. But then maybe a better waiter or the presence of a manager/owner could have turned the situation around too – but that didn’t happen either and I don’t regret not going back.