Playa Cabana Hacienda
Playa Cabana Hacienda is now open just down the street from original (and perpetually packed) Dupont location. The new spot from chef/owner Dave Sidhu takes over from the converted two storey Victorian that was until recently Vittorio's.
The interior has been stripped down to the original brick and selectively panelled with distressed woods. Oversized vintage road signs light the room with coloured bulbs and neon lettering, casting a pink, blue or yellow glow across the room depending on where you sit. Upstairs there's at least twice the seating with a front patio overlooking Dupont and plans for a future back patio that will add an additional 80 seats, though it might not be ready this season.
The menu at this location differs slightly from the other two locations (the second being the Junction's Cantina). Here there are no big plates of rice and beans but rather a snack bar menu featuring bocaditos (snacks). tacos, tostadas and sweets.
Most of the tacos come in under $6 each. I try the chorizo pulpo ($6) loaded with octopus and Mexican chorizo filling doused in spicy poblano salsa and a sprinkle of queso fresco and baby greens. It's an individual sized serving of Spanish tapas composed onto a tortilla.
The Lobster Tostada ($9) layered with a guacamole and lobster roe base, picked lobster meat and a fried claw on top is excellent as expected and tastes of the buttery crustacean throughout.
The Short Rib de Queretaro tostada ($8) is subtly nutty thanks to the yellow almond mole and topped with fresh radish, cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The single piece of meat and crisp base are not easy to eat gracefully but after a few margaritas it hardly matters.
I don't try any of the sweets but make I through a couple cocktails like Dave's Margarita ($9) shaken with Tromba Blanco, Cointreau and lime... unsweetened. The bar is fully stocked with 50+ tequilas, Mexican beers, sodas and fresh squeezed fruit juice.
The kitchen aims, amongst other things, to cater to the midtown industry crowd and will stay open until 2am regularly. The second floor and upstairs patio will take reservations and eventually the snack bar will open for lunch.
Photos by Jesse Milns