Barry Gutin, principal and co-founder of GuestCounts Hospitality, announced the anticipated reopening of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, located just steps from CityCenterDC at 801 9th Street, NW, 20001. Guests can look forward to returning for dinner service for in-house and patio dining. Brunch, lunch, and late-night dancing are planned to resume in the coming months. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Two-time James Beard Award-Winning Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot is overseeing Cuba Libre’s reopening menu, which includes a selection of “aperitivos” or appetizers, “platos fuertes” or entrées, and other signature dishes reflective of Havana. A “comida tradicional” or Cuban dinner for two is one of the new additions to the menu, and includes a selection of three appetizers, a traditional Cuban roasted pork entrée, and choice of two desserts, priced at $80 per couple. Cuba Libre has also enhanced their health and safety measures for the protection and comfort of guests, as well as healthful management practices to oversee the safety of the restaurant staff.
Cuba Libre’s newly revamped dinner menu spotlights some of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers such as Crab Guacamole with avocado, blue crab, grilled golden pineapple, roasted jalapeños, fresh lime juice and extra virgin olive oil, served with plantain chips; Tuna Ceviche, marinated yellowfin tuna with house-pickled cucumbers, seaweed, avocado, toasted Macadamia nuts and pumpkin seed oil vinaigrette; Spinach & Manchego Buñuelos, manchego cheese and spinach fritters with goat cheese crema and organic olive oil; Mamá Amelia’s Empanadas with aji-sour cream sauce and a new addition: Barrio Chino Chicken Wings, a pound of award-winning, Asian-inspired BBQ glazed wings, served with pickled pineapple and a sweet chili dipping sauce.
Signature entrées are also available and include Arroz con Pollo, saffron long grain rice, boneless chicken, green peas, Manzanilla olives, hard-boiled egg, asparagus, Palacios chorizo and roasted piquillo pepper salad; Ropa Vieja, braised, shredded and stewed beef brisket, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, red wine, white rice and maduros; Churrasco a la Cubana, grilled skirt steak, parsley, lemon, and onion sauce, served with roasted garlic boniato-potato mash, watercress salad and a red wine vinaigrette; Pez Cobia, pan-roasted black kingfish, sweet shrimp, Baja bay scallops, crabmeat, mussels, coconut milk Chino-Cubano broth and green mango escabeche, served with white rice, and the Visit to Havana, Ybor City-style pressed Cuban sandwich with sour orange marinated pork loin, Genoa salami, ham, provolone and Swiss cheese, served with yellow mustard-pickle relish, black bean soup, house salad and tropical chips.
Two new paellas have also been added to the menu along with two new “platos for two”, served with a choice of sides. Highlights include the Paella Marinera, jumbo shrimp, Maine lobster tail, mussels, squid, Baja bay scallops, claw crabmeat and saffron long grain rice, served with a roasted piquillo pepper salad; Paella Mixta, traditional combination of shrimp, chicken, Cortez chorizo, smoked ham, green peas, saffron rice and asparagus, served with a watercress salad. The platos for two, with two sides, includes the Plato Gaucho Mixed Grill, skirt steak, Maine lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, free range grilled half chicken, and Cortez chorizo, served with parsley chimichurri sauce and the Cuban Roast Pork, slow roasted Sakura pork shank, crispy skin, with a sour orange, onion and caper mojo. Side dish choices include: Arroz con Frijoles, steamed white rice and black beans; Boniato, roasted garlic boniato-potato mash; Yuca Fries, crispy and creamy yuca with cilantro-caper aioli; Tostones Hawaianos, twice-fried green Hawaiian plantains with Dijon-mojo. Prices range from $8.50 to $18 for appetizers, $19.75 to $33 for entrées and $7 for sides.
To complement the meal, guests may select from a newly added to-go beverage list. Nine of Cuba Libre’s signature mojitos, made from a combination of freshly pressed sugarcane, called guarapo, fresh lime juice, mint, rum and a splash of soda are available along with the classic caipirinha and two flavors of sangria. Cocktails are served in eight, 16, and 32 fluid ounce sizes and are made without ice to avoid dilution. An eight-ounce portion size is equivalent to 1.5 restaurant cocktails, the 16-ounce size is equivalent to three restaurant cocktails, and the 32-ounce size is equivalent to six restaurant cocktails when poured over ice. To ensure ample freshness, it is suggested that mojitos, caipirinhas, and sangrias be consumed within three days as these products contain fresh juices and purées. Prices range from $15 to $19 for 8oz portions, $14 to $38 for 16oz portions and $28 to $76 for 32oz portions.
Gutin and the Cuba Libre team have also instituted plans for the protection of each valued guest and staff member. One key step is reconfiguring the restaurant’s floor plan to create seating areas at least six feet apart. For added protection, tables and chairs are disinfected after each seating and high contact surfaces are disinfected regularly. Dishwasher cleaning cycles also run hot water and sanitize cycles to eliminate bacteria. Single use and digital menus and payment options using a QR code are also available for guests. Employees are temperature checked when reporting for work and provided with safety masks and gloves while at the restaurant. Additionally, Gutin has instituted a ULV fogging magazine, which uses CDC recommended & EPA approved disinfectants to sanitize the entire restaurant after service each night.
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