Feed Me

The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Tables are packed tighter than a box of Havana cigars at the new La Vana Restaurant, a  Cuban eatery now installed in the former digs of  Brennan & Carr. Me, I’m less concerned with my personal space than I am with the personal pleasures afforded by the sensational Cuban sandwich on my plate.

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Not everything sampled is in the league of that magical meld of roast pork, ham, Swiss, pickles and mustard on a grill-pressed baguette. I have issues with a fairly bland version of arroz con pollo.  And a thin, chewy steak.  But pernil (marinated slow-roasted pork) is fork tender, hyper flavorsome. And both chicken and beef empanadas are flaky-crusted and hearty.

Food is slow in coming; our apologetic waiter says that on this night, the kitchen is short staffed.  Even so, what I taste is compelling enough to lure me back for more.

La Vana Restaurant is at 65 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-208-3768.