Best Cuban Restaurant - 2006
Charanga takes classic Cuban cookery and revitalizes it, employing the cuisine's staples yuca, black beans, plantains in imaginative and delicious ways. Take the tostones a la Tica, a napoleon of green plantains, goat cheese, and roasted garlic on a black bean coulis. Or the lechon asado, in which leg of pork is marinated in garlic, oregano, and sour orange and roasted and served with watercress and green plantain hash. Best of all is the Niman Ranch steak, two perfectly grilled filets served with sautéed pea shoots and a sweet and spicy tamarind-epazote chimichurri; and the seviches, especially the spiky, citrusy chino latino, made with avocado, sweet peppers, and big, silky chunks of ahi tuna. These raciones (platters somewhat larger than tapas) are presented family style, ideal in such a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.