With its ever-changing coordinates and conspicuous absence from the Beach Boys' "Kokomo," Cuba is one of the more difficult to locate of the Caribbean nations. Dig into this enigma with fork, knife, and today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of modern Cuban cuisine and drinks at Habana Room in Midtown. This deal expires three months from today's date, and it also can be used for Habana Room’s happy hour, Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A visit to the Habana Room quickly warms diners up with the mysterious but convivial spirit of Cuban culture, arts, music, and delectable cuisine. Connoisseurs can treat themselves to the country's exotic flavors without having to fly their tongues through Canada with Chef Alex Garcia’s menu, which kicks off with piquant appetizers such as the spicy chorizo al vino (Spanish sausage in a Rioja wine reduction; $9). Stir up the senses with the ropa vieja—a traditional shredded-beef stew blended with caramelized onions and peppers ($16)—and chase it with a classically concocted mojito ($9) or homemade sangria, infused with tropical juices and a dash of vanilla and cinnamon ($9). Office refugees seeking an hour's asylum, meanwhile, can drop in for the lighter lunch menu and talk shop over the Cuban TBLT, a sandwich packed with ham croquettes and roasted turkey breast ($11). Habana Room's breakfast and brunch entrees treat sleepy mouths to the sensory equivalent of a swallowed alarm clock with the picadillo dish, which mingles savory beef, sweet plantain hash, and two eggs, then tops it all off with green chili sauce ($15).
Habana Room’s artful Cuban photographs and spirited atmosphere act as a festive backdrop for several celebrations of Cuban and Latin culture throughout the week. Tuesdays see the joint come alive with salsa-esque Afro-Cuban Timba music, while Wednesdays are devoted to Latin jazz-fusion. Those who delight in flamenco's sensuality, heartfelt passion, and foot-stomping temper-tantrums can catch a live performance on Fridays or dust off their own repurposed bowling shoes for dinner and dancing on Saturday.