ED NOTE: Havana South closed in January of 2012.
As I've told you before, I like the bar at Havana South. The service is good, it's full, but not too busy, and the drinks are interesting and well-priced. So M. and I frequently go there for drinks, but when we ventured into the bar snacks, we received tepid, uninspiring food. However, we decided to give a try for brunch last Sunday.
I struggle to find a brunch spot in Portland that I a) like and b) can get into without waiting for an hour. For example: Becky's and Caiola's—long wait that's not worth it. Bintliff's, Hot Suppa!, worth it, but huge wait. Miss Portland Diner, not that great, but no wait. Hm, Local 188- huge wait? I must remember to find out next brunch craving. Anyways... Havana South unfortunately falls into the, 'not that great, no wait,' category.
After a round of drinks (Mimosa for me and a spicy Bloody Mary for M.) and a crunchy savory, cheese and chive scone, I received the Lobster Benedict with Fennel Hollandaise and Huitlacoche.
The presentation of the dish was beautiful, but the taste fell a little short. The cornmeal cakes were underdone and added a distracting wet, mushy texture. The flavor of the fennel in the hollandaise, the earthiness of the huitlacoche, and the lobster never came together. The homefries were the best part, as I liked their spice mix—one with a little sweetness.
M. ordered the Roasted Vegetable Tortilla, which is a Spanish dish that is much like a Fritatta. His dish was a little lukewarm, and as you can see, suffered from a serious lack of color. Brown gruel, anyone?
The flavor didn't make up for the temperature and appeal issues; it tasted a bit like a cold leftover rice loaf (no actual rice, just the taste). M. slathered ketchup on it to salvage it. Surprisingly, the bartender said that a group of women (down the bar from us) returned week after week to order that particular dish. So, not to our tastes, but some people like it!
We had a lovely time at Havana, but unfortunately, the food wasn't good enough to make us want to return for a meal any time soon. Again, I guess we'll stick to drinks at the bar.