Restaurants & Bars

if ya gotta eat at the mall?... try havana express (asheville, nc)

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Restaurants & Bars

if ya gotta eat at the mall?... try havana express (asheville, nc)

mark | Mar 6, 2006 08:55 AM

had to make a stop at sears yesterday, and it happened to coincide with an empty stomach, so i scanned my list of places to try and landed on havana express.

it's located at the mall entrance nearest sears (i believe it's where baskin robbins used to be).

i tried the sunday brunch special, which was comprised of a portion of everything on the steam table: ropa vieja, picodillo (gr. beef w/ sauteed onions, peppers & garlic), roasted pork, roasted chicken, black beans, yellow rice & a corn cake.

everything was fairly lightly seasoned, whether in deference to the perceived american palate or the owner's style, i don't know. it was all somewhat underseasoned for me, although hot sauce was available (i opted against it this visit, but will make use of it in the future).

the ropa vieja was decent, but fared poorly in comparison to my local favorite for the dish (tomato's), which i had friday night, so it was fresh in my mind. havana express's would have benefited from more seasoning.

the picodillo was my least favorite as it tasted like it's components rather than a melding thereof. also lacked spice.

the roasted pork was very good. moist succulent & tasty. the cut was a little fatty, but was otherwise the best of the meal.

the chicken was very tasty as well, although the skin could have used crisping. as it was soggy i removed it & thoroughly enjoyed the fall-off-the-bone tender meat.

rice & beans were nothing to write home about, but served adequately to sop up the juices.

the corn cake was very tasty, but a little dry. again, served as a good juice sponge.

none of the food was great, but it was far superior to anything else i've had at the mall. prices were in keeping with other mall eateries ($18 for 2 specials & 2 cokes), and it was a lot of food. i will definitely go back should i find myself in the same situation again.

for what it's worth, while i didn't try it, the cuban sandwich looked delicious, and featured the same roasted pork that was the highlight of my meal. it was very popular with rest of the clientele that streamed through as i was eating. it's what i'll try on my next visit.

also got a cane-sugar coke to wash the meal down with. so much tastier than the domestic product.

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