Dining

Have your plantains both ways at Havana Grill

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Both green and ripe plantains are beautifully done at Havana Grill.
Photo: Erin Ryan

Restaurant Guide

Havana Grill
8878 S. Eastern Ave., 932-9310.
Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (till 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday).

For most American palates, potato is the dominant starch. You can bake it, fry it, boil it, mash it and top it with everything from butter and salt to brown sugar and curry. But in Cuba, you’re more likely to eat your burger with a side of fruit. Plantain is a wonderfully versatile relative of banana commonly found in Caribbean cuisines, and Cuban chef Sergio Perez of Florida Café on the Strip and Havana Grill in Henderson understands how to showcase its impressive spectrum of flavors and textures. To experience that spectrum, combine the mariquitas and plátanos maduros ($4.95 each), or fried green plantains and caramelized ripe plantains. The green variety are crisp and light, the flavor somewhere between taro and potato. The ripe melt on the tongue with a sophisticated sweetness, like a rich baritone compared to banana’s piercing tenor. With a Saoco cocktail ($7.50) of rum, coconut water and lime, it’s a smorgasbord of simple, tropical pleasures.

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