CHELSEA — A Cuban-Chinese restaurant inspired by the once-popular fusion eateries from Chinese immigrants who fled Cuba is setting up shop in the neighborhood.
Marco Britti, who owns Calle Dão on West 39th Street, plans to open a second outpost of the restaurant at 461 W. 23rd St., near 10th Avenue, in a London Terrace Towers space formerly occupied by the restaurant Barchetta, he told DNAinfo New York.
Many of Cuba’s Chinese residents fled the country and opened Cuban-Chinese restaurants in New York City in the 1960s after Fidel Castro rose to power, Britti explained.
But as the older generation of restaurateurs retired and their children took up other professions, the eateries became few and far between.
“The whole… history was lost, and all the restaurants started closing down,” said Britti, who discovered the fusion of the two cuisines when he lived in Cuba in the late 1990s.
“I wanted to bring it back… because it’s been forgotten.”
Patrons who frequent Calle Dão in Midtown will recognize items like “Lechón Asado” (roasted pig with fried rice-style quinoa and ginger-cilantro sauce); black rice paella; and Peking-style chicken on the new Chelsea eatery's menu, Britti explained.
“We’ll be having fun with the menu in order to make it [an] interesting and… modern approach to Cuban Chinese cuisine, but there will be some important staples… that will be the same,” he said.
Britti, who also owns the Cuban-Brazilian restaurant Favela Cubana in Greenwich Village, hopes to open the new Calle Dão outpost in August.
“The point is to have fun with food… and bring all the best of both cuisines,” he said.