Cariño Cubano


Coppelia | 207 West 14th St. (Bet. 7th & 8th Aves.) | 212.858.5001 | www.coppelianyc.com | | | |

I HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATED AS of late. One of the major categories that I’m sorely missing in amount of posts is BREAKFAST, not so much due to lack of effort, but to lack of wanting to pay twelve dollars for a cheese omelet. I can make eight cheese omelets for the same 12 bucks!

Breakfast suffers from being the meal with, by far, the least number of options in terms of variety of dish; it’s either something savory with eggs, or something sweet with syrup. Even when I was a young kid and my mom was gone for weeks at a time working in upstate New York, lunch was provided by school and dinner was bought with my allowance, but I was always cooking breakfast. So to this day, I find it hard to resolve having someone somewhere else make me something I can more easily, quickly and cheaply make at home.

People who do “go out” for breakfast do so because they don’t/can’t/won’t cook it at home. I needed to find a breakfast I couldn’t readily or easily make at home, and finally remembering seeing blue corn pancakes on the menu for the warm, pretty and newly opened Cuban restaurant Coppelia down on west 14th Street, I traveled pre-morning rush hour by 6 train to try them out for myself.


Coppelia

Coppelia

Coppelia

Coppelia

Coppelia


A lovely and comfortable spot, the menu features a wide variety of Cuban dishes, some traditional, some “elevated” or re-imagined (and a couple noticeably, proudly un-Cuban). Cuban cuisine was born from a mix of Spanish and Caribbean influences, as is evidenced all over the options for all-day breakfast, starters, snacks, soups, salads, burgers, and mains. All of it coming from a hyperactive yet proficient and professional kitchen tucked away in the corner of the restaurant’s colorful space.


Coppelia Menu

Coppelia Kitchen


And order the blue corn pancakes I did.


Coppelia, Blue Corn Pancakes

Coppelia, Blue Corn Pancakes

Coppelia, Blue Corn Pancakes


A beautiful, large stack of yummy pancakes that were served uniquely by the the slightly rich, savory qualities of the blue corn. The berries in the pico de gallo fruit were plump and burst with juice, and the agave nectar had a moist, smooth pour to it, being not nearly as cloying as the same amount of maple syrup.

They were nicely filling as well, or at least started to be when I remembered why I had Coppelia on my Dining Out “to-do” list to begin with. I had been mentioned in a Zagat online article about the 5 best Cuban sandwiches in NYC. Since the last one I had was over a year ago at the now closed West Branch (and it was barely passable), I figured I get the balance of my flapjacks to go and order the Cuban sandwich for myself, not knowing when I would next be in the West Village/Chelsea area.


Coppelia, Cuban Sandwich

Coppelia, Cuban Sandwich

Coppelia, Cuban Sandwich

Coppelia, Cuban Sandwich

Coppelia, Cuban Sandwich


I had never personally understood the appeal of the Cuban sandwich as a “specialty” sandwich; I had always regarded it as just another meat and cheese sandwich with mustard and some pickles. I am now happy to report how this sandwich, when prepared properly, becomes much greater than the some of its parts. The roast pork was tender, juicy, and for once made up, by far, the majority of the meat in the sandwich. The slice of ham is not a random redundancy of pig here, adding a welcome layer instead of some added fat, “cured” flavors, and salinity. The pickles were properly bright, without being to sweet, sour or “punchy”. The “punch” rightfully came from the mustard, that with the melted cheese and panini-pressed flattened bread, kept your tastebuds awake enough to enjoy the combinations of flavors, temperature and texture for several extra seconds. (The only downside is that I did not get the side of fried plaintain and yuca chips—that Zagat raved about—that supposedly came with the sandwich.)

As I was wishing the place was located far closer to my apartment, I thought wisely and proudly of the fact that, including the train fare back and forth, I had barely spent twenty bucks for the whole morning’s meal. That’s almost what some diners(!!) up here on the Upper East Side are charging for a ham & cheese omelet!

There was still plenty menu items that I am now more ready to return to Coppelia to try, like their version of macaroni and cheese that includes pork belly and chicharonnes or even one of the excellent-smelling brews whose sweet aromas wafted throughout the space. (Heck, I would gladly come back just to have the very pretty Dinah be my server again!) And, overall, what a lovely, great space it is…!


Coppelia

Coppelia


Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.


Coppelia on Urbanspoon


Coppelia | 207 West 14th St. (Bet. 7th & 8th Aves.) | 212.858.5001 | www.coppelianyc.com | | | |



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