January 18, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Cabana

Happy Birthday, ABF! For my Awesome BoyFriend's birthday this year, I took him to one of our favorite restaurants. He really wanted their shrimp fritters and some chimichurri-slathered skirt steak. The Seaport location was closed for a private party (WHAT!?), so we trekked to the Upper East Side, the location where I first sampled their wonderful, wonderful food when I moved here 10 years ago (10!!? Already?!?)

The location on 3rd Avenue is much smaller than the Seaport, and on this rainy, cold Tuesday, it was mostly empty.

We got a corner booth and ordered our mojitos immediately! A favorite of ABF's is the one with the 12 year old Montecristo rum (it's pictured at the top of the post and on the left of this photo--it has the slightly darker rum in it). I ordered the basic. They are STEALS at 8.50 and 7 dollars, respectively!

The Birthday Boy knew he wanted the appetizer sampler, which we only order when we are really, really hungry (and we were, after all our time traveling to get to this location!) This time the veggie fritters were phenomenal--I always opt for shrimp over veggie, but these were absolutely scrumptious.

This is a lot more fried food than I normally eat, but it's just so good! It's not greasy or heavy at all, and it's packed with flavor, from the beef empanadas to the jerk chicken to the aforementioned fritters.

ABF's first taste of chimichurri sauce was on a trip to Cabana, so he had to order his skirt steak dish tonight of all nights. I swear I want to put those pickled onions on just about everything. ABF was happy with the dish as always--a nice char on the meat but still plenty of tenderness, and oh, that happy green sauce! The sizzling hot metal plate did singe his finger--on his birthday! :(--and he commented that Cabana might want to reconsider moving it from the metal plate to a regular ceramic one...I concur!

I almost always order the "La Playa" (the Beach) salad, which comes with seafood and a lime dressing, but the special, tangerine-glazed salmon, called out my name. It came on a bed of coconut rice, and I was sold. The glaze was tongue-tinglingly tart-tastic, sweet at first but then really full-bodied, and the salmon was THE moistest, most delectable, perfectly-cooked salmon I have *ever* had, and that includes Ennio & Michael's parchment-cooked salmon (which until that moment at Cabana, claimed the #1 spot in my heart). I absolutely loved this, and it was incredibly reasonable at $22 (I was expecting much more, considering it was a 'special').

It would not have been a Happy Birthday meal for ABF without Cabana's tres leches cake. For some reason, it's not on the menu, but don't let that stop you from asking for it! It's moist, spongy, and delectable. The strawberry ice cream that comes with it is MY favorite part. All you taste is strawberries...fresh, fresh strawberries, in a creamy, yummy form.

Once again, Cabana delivers with fast, friendly service, excellent recommendations, and mouth-watering, flavorful, craveable food. I love this place!!

Cabana Midtown
1022 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 980-5678

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