Morristown, NJ recently held their yearly restaurant week. Living in town, this makes for the perfect excuse to get out and eat! This year I made my rounds to a handful of new places I had wanted to try. My pick for a girls night outing was the new Cuban fusion eatery, Havana Koi.
This is the newest restaurant on the block and it is a completely new concept of cuisine to the area. It also has outdoor seating and on the gorgeous evening we selected for our night out it was the perfect option.
It is also a BYOB establishment and will make Sangria (both red and white) if you provide the bottle. We went for the white sangria which has white grape, cucumber, and agave nectar. It was very light and refreshing.
Havana Koi is Cuban cuisine with a hint of Asian flair. Its menu is composed of predominately small plates or tapas style dishes. As a group we decided to order a variety of selections and share at the table. We chose 5 plates for our appetizer course and then each of us ordered one small dish to keep to ourselves (for the most part) for our main course. One thing I did note is that no special menu or deals were presented to us for participating in restaurant week.
Our first round of food included the Angry Clams. They sat in a spicy jalapeño broth and were topped with chorizo and herbs. This was probably my favorite dish we had all night. The clams were succulent and we all kept trying to mop up the wonderful broth. We also enjoyed the Churrasco skewers. They were not topped with a chimchurri which is what I tend to associate with Churrasco beef however; they were paired with a Korean BBQ dipping sauce. The beef was tender and the sweet and spicy sauce was on the mark.
We selected one of their ceviche selections as an appetizer. They were out of the Sea Bass so we went with shrimp. My one girlfriend is a HUGE lover of ceviche and she was very unimpressed. However; not having had a true ceviche before I thought it was very flavorful and I continued to indulge. If you are not looking for an authentic ceviche dish this shrimp was bright and crisp and mixed with guava, yuzu and pickled bamboo.
The Manchego Arepas was also on the table as an appetizer. I really enjoyed this small plate. It was similar to a thick, creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, corn cake topped with gooey caramelized onions and cheese.
Last up was Ahi Tuna. I must admit I do not like Tuna so I did not taste this dish. The rest of our group seemed to enjoy and it had a nice presentation.
Moving on to my main course I went with the Miso Soy Braised Pork Belly. This dish was booming with flavor. The slaw paired with the pork was a nice touch. I only wish the pork itself was a tad crispier.
Havana Koi was a fun outing. The small plate style along with their fusion far made for a unique dining experience. There were some service hiccups with the speed of service however; I understand they are still new and it was also one of the first nights that the outside portion of the restaurant was open. Our server was also friendly and attentive so there were no points lost there.
All in all I know I will be back to try some of the many other small plates (The menu is of decent size) that Havana Koi has to offer.
Visit Havana Koi’s website to learn more about the restaurant: www.havanakoi.com