Place: Victor’s Café
Neighborhood: Midtown West, 236 W. 52nd St. (between 8th Ave & Broadway)
The scoop: Victor’s Café is a pretty large space, and it is a great place to go with a large group. We passed numerous tables as we made our way to a comfortable round table in the back of the restaurant. The ambiance gave off a tropical Cuban feeling. I loved the palm leaf fans that swayed back and forth on the ceiling beneath a large skylight, which provided a nice amount of natural lighting . I was surprised at the lack of people in the restaurant, but the typical patrons here are probably headed to the theater. The service was pretty slow, but accommodating at the same time. At one point, one of us spilled a glass of sangria, and it made a loud noise as the glass hit the table. It took about five minutes for a waiter to come by to see if we needed napkins. However, I was pleased when the waiter came back with a cleaning solution to put on our friend’s white shorts which were covered in sangria.
Bottoms up: The drink special at Victor’s is half off the house red and white sangria (by the glass, carafe and pitchers). Since we were a party of five, we decided to order a pitcher of red sangria, which was $19.50.
The sangria was very tasty, not sweet and was a little strong. There were also chunks of different fruit in the pitcher. We definitely got more than five glasses out of the pitcher, which was a bonus. We were all pleased.
Chew on this:
Mini loaves of bread / Complimentary
Mini loaves of bread were served prior to the appetizer, which was a delightful surprise. The warm loaves had a hard shell, but when broken open, were soft in the middle.
Aguacate Relleno $9 / Fresh Hass avocado, stuffed with crispy bacon, Monterey jack cheese and tomato. Served with plantain chips.
We ordered this as an appetizer, and it was prepared like guacamole and presented very well. The appetizer was very tasty. The plantain chips were the perfect dippers for this starter dish. I just wish there was more cheese and more plantain chips to use for dipping.
Fritas Cubanas con papitas a la Juliana $14 / Mini Cuban hamburgers made with ground prime sirloin and chorizo. Topped with onions and Julienne potato fries
The best part of this dish was the meat from which my burgers were made. I was able to taste the chorizo, and I definitely wanted more meat! With such good meat, they should have served it on better tasting bread. The buns reminded me of store-bought buns that you would get for a casual barbecue. The french fries were very thin and didn’t taste like anything. I soaked them in ketchup, and I felt like I was eating them just for the sake of having something else to eat.
Huevos ahi na ma $14 / Shredded beef served on top of a Cuban toast, black bean purée and topped with a fried egg
Sometimes I am not sure what to expect, and this was one of those times. I am normally pleasantly surprised. The sunny-side-up eggs were small, and there really wasn’t much meat. I am assuming the black bean purée was mixed in somewhere with the shredded beef, but this was not very apparent. I was not a huge fan of the untoasted bread beneath the shredded beef . The salad on the side was a little random, as there were no toppings and the dressing was a little boring. Overall, this dish did provide the flavor you’d expect to get at Cuban restaurants, but it lacks a few key brunch components.
Tortilla Cubana $13 / Cuban-style omelet with Spanish chorizo, crispy potatoes, sweet plantains and ham
Traditional Cuban omelets are slightly different then French omelets, which is what you are accustomed to eating at brunch. The Cuban tastes a little drier than other styles of omelets, but in a good way. It’s as if you are almost eating two fried egg tortillas smashed together with meat and potatoes on the inside. It was so delicious! I am not sure how they fried this so perfectly. The inside additions were also cooked to perfection. The sweet plantains and the chorizo gave this dish tons of flavor. I would definitely get this again.
The final bite: Victor’s Café had great food presentation, professional service and convenient location for the Theater District, but it lacked in consistency of delicious brunch dishes and exciting atmosphere. Also, where was the jazz band I kept reading about online?
Reviewed by: Erica and Victoria