Cienfuegos Delivers Sexy Vegetarian Cuban-Inspired Food and Drink

 In Barstool Review

Ascend the narrow stairway to Cienfuegos and you’re instantly transported to sexy Cuban island hideaway. The East Village bar and restaurant recently launched an entirely new plant-based food and drink menus. This is part of the philosophical mission of restauranteur, Ravi DeRossi. Drinks have been expertly crafted by the super talented, Jane Danger (Mother of Pearl), with a heavy focus on the rum category. Cienfuegos is certainly serving up the fire with the retooled menus and is thirsty approved.

Inside the dimly lit venue – perfect for date night or girls night out – you can enjoy both boozy and non-alcoholic drinks. Some of our favorites were the Honey Badger, with Flor de Caña 4-year Extra Dry, Laird’s Bonded Applejack, passion fruit, honey, lime and jalapeño; and the Basilica with Santa Teresa 2796, rye whiskey, basil, vanilla, passion fruit, and cucumber.

What to Drink at Cienfuegos

Honey Badger

Honey Badger at Cienfuegos

Ingredients: Flor de Caña 4-year Extra Dry, Laird’s Bonded Applejack, passion fruit, honey, lime and jalapeño

Pinkberry

Pinkberry at Cienfuegos East Village
The Pinkberry Virgin Cocktail

There is a Virgin Cocktails section with mouth-watering options like the Pinkberry with strawberry, lemon, orange flower water and coconut purée and sinfully delicious The Panada with oreo, vanilla and coconut purée. All virgin cocktails can turn boozy with a shot of rum added upon request.

Danger’s amazing talents with tiki drinks certainly has its fingerprint in all the right ways. She says of the program, “The drink inspirations come from the seasons and taking classic cocktails or punch recipes as a base and plugging in rum or a blend of rum/rhum. There is always a bit of tropical flavor, using that as a vehicle for seasonal flavors- such as strong baking spice notes in the colder months. We change the menu 5-6 times a year.”

Basilica at Cienfuegos Vegan Cocktails

Basilica with Santa Teresa 2796, rye whiskey, basil, vanilla, passion fruit, and cucumber.

To accompany the drinks, Executive Chef Josh Moore’s menu features vegetable-focused, market-driven takes on classic Cuban dishes. Go for the Ropa Vieja with shiitake mushroom, charred cabbage and red pepper served over toasted rum rice with a leek aioli,  Empanadas filled with forbidden black rice, kale and amaro-soaked raisins, and served with salsa verde and Mushroom and Tomatillo Croquetas served with whipped avocado and kumquat jam. All of the dishes are highly shareable and great for groups.

Owner Ravi DeRossi aims to move all fifteen of his establishments, which include Mother of Pearl, Death & Co., and Ladybird, amongst others, to be more plant-based. About the menu shifts, DeRossi explains, “Moving all of my establishments to plant-based dining is a decision I made exactly one year ago, and it’s personally very important to me,” he explains. “I’m in a position where I can have an impact and do something to help this planet. I don’t just want to preach about it, I want to take action, and hopefully it can have an influence on other people as well.”

Pro Tips

  • Perfect for date night
  • Go Monday nights for live Cuban inspired music by the Urban Latin Jazz Ensemble from 8 PM – 11 PM
  • Upgrade any of the Virgin Cocktails with a shot of rum

Cienfuegos details

95 Avenue A., 212-614-6818, cienfuegos.com

Connect socially: @cienfuegos_nyc

Cienfuegos is open Sunday-Thursday from 5pm-1m and Friday and Saturday from 5pm-2am.

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