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.
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.