Arroz con Frijoles
Since I was a student here, New Haven has really blossomed when it comes to dining. There were good restaurants here a decade ago, but not of the variety and quantity that exist today. When I first moved back, I didn't really believe it when I heard that the dining scene in New Haven is quite good. But now that I have had a chance to explore some new restaurants, I find that what I initially heard and what I now tell prospective students and admits is true -- there are some great restaurants in New Haven.
Recently, when I was missing Miami, I decided to try Zafra, one of the Cuban restaurants in town. New Haven Restaurant Week, with its incredible deal on lunch and dinner, lured me there ($16.38 for a prix fixe three-course lunch and $29.00 for a three-course dinner). After seeing their Restaurant Week menu online, I decided to check it out.
And it did not disappoint. I started out by having a chicken and chorizo soup. Because I am not much of a soup eater, I was least excited about this course at the outset. It proved to be quite delicious, however, and possibly the best of the three courses. I then moved on to picadillo and arroz con frijoles. I love black beans and rice with picadillo, which is a stewed ground beef dish, and I certainly crave it now that I can't get it as readily as in Miami. Zafra's Picadillo and black beans were quite tasty and worth a second visit. To top it all off, I had the tres leches dessert, a traditional Cuban moist cake made with three kinds of milk -- evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream (tres leches is not just traditional to Cuba but is also a popular dish in other Latin American countries). Even though I had barely any room left, I managed to stuff my face with the huge piece that came with the meal. It was not as good as the tres leches that I have had in some Miami restaurants, but it was still good enough to eat until the last bite. How can anything soaked with all that cream not be fully consumed?
Zafra is walking distance from the law school, which is why I chose it for lunch. It opened in the spring of 2011 and is Connecticut's first rum bar. The mojito drinks sound delicious!! Too bad I couldn't try them for fear of having a baby with birth defects.
Zafra is not the only Cuban restaurant in New Haven. Another choice, also within walking distance of the law school, is Soul de Cuba. I have not yet tried it, but certainly will next time I crave some arroz con frijoles and tres leches.