Ambiance and amazing service are Calle Ocho’s greatest strengths. Order wisely and you may just be blown away. Calle Ocho specializes in Nuevo Latino cuisine; feel free to explore or stick to things that sound less diluted and more like what mamá used to make. Calle Ocho’s menu is expansive, traversing the diverse cooking traditions of the whole of Latin America, and sometimes, mashes them all together. Of their many, many, many cocktails, there is something called the “Washington Heights Nutcracker,” a house secret that sounds dangerous; the Piña mojito is delicious, with fresh muddled pineapple, and the Spanish Harlem sangria, is heavily spiced and wintry. Warm pan de bono comes to your table, tucked into repurposed cigar boxes; you will spoil your appetite. The Huachinango ceviche, with snapper, mango and cilantro, is light and delicate; conversely, for an appetizer, the Arepa is dense and a meal in itself – topped with a hearty heap of ropa vieja, smothered in a mysterious and rich salsa criolla and a touch of crema nata, which cuts through the heavier flavors right when it needs to. The Vaca Frita al Caballo, a skirt steak, is unbelievably buttery, topped with an egg and avocado slice, and laying on top of a bed of Asian fried rice. The crunch of the Tilapia, plantain-crusted, is good by itself – but steer clear of the accompanying passion fruit “mojo,” which, on this occasion, was a tad over-reduced and caramel-y, and perhaps a touch too confusing for any palate – no matter how open-minded. Make reservations.
I went on a date – for their famous brunch – no disappointment – my date and I enjoyed ourselves and most importantly are tummy’s were happy as well. Its hard to get a seat – so you may have to wait if you do not have a reservation – but they do have a lounge area where you can eat as well – and the Sangria is unlimited during Brunch.
We went again for an early dinner with some friends during the week and this time we went inside the dinning area – to our surprise – its huge!!!! – The staff was friendly and helped us out with the menu. We tried several appetizers – but what stood out was the crispy onion shrimp (very small) we needed to order another. They have a great selection of ceviches – but depending on your taste – its up to you which to pick – if your not sure try the sampler and write which one you like the most.!!!!
As for entree – not exactly typical Cuban food – but it still tasty – and while you are there count how many times you hear someone celebrating their b-day.
hours of operation:
Mon-Thu 6–10:30pm; Fri 6–11:30pm; Sat 5–11:30pm; Sun 5–10pm