Finally made it here this past sunday night after reading about it in jim's newsletter last spring. I must say that we didn't eat much food, plaintains that were absolutely fine, two cubano sandwiches with pork and onions that both friends completely loved but by that point we were all so high on the music that the food was like some paradisical (is that a word?) nectar. It's just that the place is an experience, an escape and as close to being in havana as is possible on summit avenue in union city, nj.
Sunday night is rumba night - very afro cuban complete with a 14 member band, five conga players, assorted percussion and rotating singers. Soulful, religious, ecstatic, hip swaying music complete with dancers that rise up out of the audience to commune with the beat. Those dancers seem to be regulars and are respectful of eachother and their moment on the floor. Even the band members come off the stage and dance to the musical groove. The audience throws wadded up money at the musicians and the dancers, bouncing in their chairs knowing that the climax is yet to come. It's dark, crowded and friendly.
The set is divided into two acts so there's room for everyone else who wants to dance during the break but the second act is where you board the train and don't exit until you're left breathless at the top of the mountain when everyone piles onto the dance floor. Waiters and waitresses dance with customers after the finale, musicians close up their instruments, some join the fray to the recorded music, as people leave the club flushed and excited - ready to return next week.
Dinner is possible, I know there's chicken and rice and trays of other choices being served but the food is incidental to the atmosphere. Just know that if you're hungry you can eat and if you're starved for something far away, romantic and soul filling - you will leave sated.