Pablo’s Havana Cafe on Sawmill Road offers a 9-inch Cuban sandwich and dishes inspired by owner Pablo Taura’s grandmother, Anita.
Pablo Taura wants to get to the point where people don’t ask him what’s in a Cuban sandwich anymore.
The six ingredients are printed on the uniforms of his new restaurant, Pablo’s Havana CafÃ©, just east of the city limits of Powell.
âEveryone is asking,â Taura said. âIt’s also on my business card. “
Here’s the recap: Cuban bread baked in Tampa, home roasted pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, sliced ââpickles, and yellow mustard pressed on a panini grill. The 9-inch sandwich, called El Cubano, is the restaurant’s signature dish, 9865 Sawmill Road.
Pablo’s Havana CafÃ© opened three weeks ago without a sign and in a mall perpendicular to Powell Road, so it’s not easy to spot. Nonetheless, word of Taura’s homemade Cuban cuisine quickly spread throughout central Ohio.
âPeople, you know foodies, they say, ‘We found you’,â he said.
Taura’s parents fled Cuba in 1967 when he was 5 years old. They moved to Union City, New Jersey, an enclave of Latino transplants.
In Cuba, her grandmother, Anita, was cooking on a farm, where she met her future husband, Florentino. His cuisine was renowned in his community – the family later moved to Havana – and the inspiration for Pablo’s Havana CafÃ©.
âWe are trying to create a family environment unique to the industry,â he said.
Taura has spent much of her life in the restaurant business, working as a food and beverage manager at New York’s famous Tavern on the Green and McDonald’s, and as an accountant. Yet he never lost his desire to cook the food of his native country and developed by his grandmother.
He worked on recreating the recipes with his mother, Sonia, who never wrote anything. Eventually her grandmother came to America and taught the family how to cook, down to the last teaspoon of cumin.
Taura kept the menu small and manageable, with a menu focused on soups and salads, a handful of sandwiches, and platters – picadillo (ground beef), ropa Viejo (grated beef), and arroz con pollo (chicken with rice). A new take on the Cuban sandwich is La Cubana, where grilled chicken replaces roast pork. Most individual items are $ 5 to $ 12.
Taura even created their own items, such as tostones rellenos, green plantains formed into small cuts and fried, and stuffed with your choice of picadillo, ropa Viejo, pork or arroz con pollo.
Needless to say, Pablo’s serves Cuban espresso and cafe con leche.
The hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 614-389-4302.
A lucky charm
Tio’s Margaritas has a new name – La Herradura Mexican Restaurant & Bar, 5855 Frantz Road near Dublin.
Tio owner Martin Morales enlisted his partner Juan Ocampo to launch the menu. While the spacious interior remains largely the same, with a fireplace in the middle of the dining area, there are several new signature dishes, such as the Zamora carne – steak topped with red bean sauce and accompanied of nopailto salad, pickled onions, potatoes and chorizo ââand two cheese quesadillas.
La Herradura means horseshoe in Spanish, a sign of luck.
Fox and patterns
Central Ohio’s third Fox in the Snow CafÃ© is scheduled to open Jan. 12 at 160 W. Main St. in New Albany.
The cafe is known for its homemade baked goods, coffee, tea, and light fare, such as the popular egg puff sandwich.
The other Fox in the Snow locations are in the Italian Village and the German Village.
For the obituary
Haveli Express, 5720 Frantz Road.
King Avenue 5, 945 King Avenue.
Dispatch Restaurant reporter Gary Seman Jr. can be reached at [email protected]