South side of NYU’s Bobst Library and next to the forever defunct Rhong Tiam sits Favela Cubana. The festive colored restaurant juts out onto the sidewalk and leaks live band music…even if there is only one table to hear it. The music attracts what little foot traffic comes down this way, but ultimately our brunch was quiet, with only two other tables for company.
From 10am-1pm however, the passersby lose out on complimentary cocktails and fantastic yuca chips. We immediately got two Celias–passionfruit and champagne–to start, and picked up the steak and eggs and ipanema chicken. Nothing on the menu is particularly ethnic, but on the table are some nice exotic pepper sauces, which I guess is literary the local flavor. Plus, there is still the music yes?
The steak and eggs arrive with the token chimichurri sauce and upgraded fries. The texture of the Yuca makes me think that less of the grease makes it into the densely packed starches–pick your poison. The steak itself is pretty decent for brunch: smoky, tender, juicy. But as far as South American steaks go, this one is slightly short of mind blowing.
The ipanema chicken was a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of poultry. Indeed, this entire half of a very healthy North American bird is quite a bit more powerful than the passionfruit sauce it’s paired with. Not a bad dish overall and a great way to try all the sauces that your table comes with.
For dessert, we had the apple cinnamon empanadas. These were fantastic. The crust might have been a little hard, but with the vanilla ice cream melting on top of it, it’s a negligible issue. The apple and cinnamon was balanced, definitely a great end to any brunch if you’re unafraid of sacrificing productivity after sugar laden meal.
A quiet, out of the way location in an otherwise bustling area–Favela Cubana is perhaps an odd location for brunch and somewhat distanced from the happy-hour scene. However, with half a bird devoured, I walked away with hopes for this restaurant.
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