Cuban cuisine frequently disappears when traveling at sea, whether caught in the grips of the Bermuda Triangle or devoured by plantain-loving krakens. Make some more dishes disappear with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Cuban cuisine, tapas, desserts, and more at Agozar! on Bowery.
With brunch, lunch, and dinner menus revealing a teeming variety of Spanish and Latin influences, Agozar! conceives classic Cuban favorites alongside inventive and unusual flavors in a vibrant bistro setting. Traditional dishes, such as the seafood-suffused paella marinera ($21), celebrate the best of Cuban cooking without the hassle of eating an entire bag of confetti. Palates will proclaim their undying affections for envelope-pushing entrees, such as the ginger-glazed salmon and crab-fried rice in the Chino-Cubano ($17). Agozar! also features many vegetarian options, a tasty dessert menu, and a host of delicious wines and other drinks among interior hues of bright orange and saffron yellow, wood-paneled floors, and lively Cuban artwork.
The Village Voice favorably reviewed Agozar!, and its chicken sandwich was reviewed on Serious Eats: New York. The blog Savory City also gave Agozar! a good review. Yelpers give it a 3.5-star average, and Citysearchers award it a solid average of four stars.
Agozar Restaurant and Lounge
From crisp croquetas de jamon to beef-filled empanaditas, the Cuban-style tapas at Agozar Restaurant and Lounge come flavored with the same rich, Caribbean spices that fill the childhood memories of its co-owners, siblings Gerardo Perez and Diana Mastrodimos.
“We’re from a Cuban family, [with] a Cuban grandma," Perez said. "We lived in Miami for some time, so we had traditional Cuban food almost every day. Our dad also worked in Cuban restaurants in NYC, like Victor’s Cafe, so we had that upbringing."
But in recent years, the brother-and-sister team has expanded their menu beyond the classics they remember from childhood. Today, they also serve "Nuevo-Cubano" dishes that draw on influences from Spain, Mexico, and even China, reflecting the full cultural diversity of modern Cuban cuisine.
Dishes to Discover
Those familiar with Cuban cuisine will easily recognize classic dishes at Agozar, including pressed cubaniche sandwiches, shredded ropa vieja, and citrus-marinated lechon. But there are dishes here that may surprise even the most seasoned palate. A few highlights:
- Crisp calamari sweetened by Dominican honey
- Vegetarian wild-mushroom croquettes with piquillo pepper sauce
- Ginger-glazed "Chino-Cubano" salmon with vegetable fried rice
- Chorizo with caramelized onions in a sangria glaze
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