We could not say the same about the paella. The dish had a great smoky flavor, from the chorizo and perhaps some smoked paprika, but the ingredients had been allowed to cook too long. As a result the rice had gone a bit gummy, and the chicken dry. Relatively unaffected were the tender pieces of lobster and juicy Maine shrimp. A dessert of chocolate ganache with a rum mousse was fine but not terrific. There was a bit of spice in the cake, but slices of candied jalapeno on top offered a searing heat.

While we did not leave Havana South raving about the dishes, beyond the lamb entrée, we nonetheless liked the place. Though things are not quite perfect, the spirit of the restaurant is right and you get the sense they take their food seriously and are going to work out the details. But as Obama is learning, patience can wear thin when there is a lot of money involved, and with most entrees over $25, Havana should keep that in mind. In the meantime, go with the existing strengths: hear the band on a Wednesday, be sure to chat with Ezra, and try the lamb.

Brian Duff can be reached atbduff@une.edu.

HAVANA SOUTH | 44 Wharf St, Portland | Mon-Fri 11:30 am-10 pm; Sat-Sun 9 am-10 pm; bar open late | Visa/MC/Amex | 207.772.9988

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Review: Whaddapita, Review: Cook & Brown Public House, Review: Basil's of Narragansett, More more >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Seafood, Cuba, Bar Harbor,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIMITS OF LANGUAGE  |  November 03, 2014
    Is it enlightened or provincial that we Mainers hear “ethnic” and don’t think, as many do, exclusively of non-Europeans?
  •   INFINITE BROOKLYNS  |  October 24, 2014
    Last year some national magazine said that Biddeford is to Portland as Brooklyn is to New York. No. Biddeford is a mash-up of Newburg and Poughkeepsie. It is East Bayside that is our Brooklyn.
  •   START DIGGING HERE  |  October 03, 2014
    Because music is now basically free (thanks to torrents, Pandoras, Spotifies, etc.), the only way for musicians to make money is through constant touring and related merchandise sales. Or they can appear as a judge on The Voice. Food, on the other hand, will still cost ya...
  •   PICK YOUR POISON  |  October 01, 2014
    The National Institutes of Health just published a randomized study that confirms the rumors: carbohydrates are poison and should be avoided. So how should we feel about Slab Sicilian Streetfood?
  •   A LITTLE WHINE  |  September 05, 2014
    The lessons of Lolita are that something simpler and less challenging can be lovely, and that some cheap wine could really loosen things up.

 See all articles by: BRIAN DUFF