Chelsea just got a whole lot yummier thanks to the flavor explosion that is Calle Dão. Their Cuban/Chinese fusion left me feeling all kinds of emotions including happy, full and the desire to want to go back for more.
Calle Dão, located on 23rd street between 9th and 10th avenue, is a perfect example of what fusion should be. This trend has continued to grow in the Manhattan area and beyond to where all types of cuisines are being thrown together for the masses to enjoy. Cuban and Chinese are two that fit beautifully like a deliciously tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which Calle Dão excels in and then some.
According to their website, Calle Dão is designed to pay homage to Havana’s once-thriving El Barrio Chino (Chinatown). Known as the largest such community in Latin America, El Barrio Chino occupied 44 square blocks of real estate in the late 1870s. As the Cuban and Chinese cultures mixed, a unique fusion of cuisine emerged. Today, El Barrio Chino occupies a small section of the narrow Calle Cuchillo – Knife Street – from which Calle Dão takes its name.
That inspiration has fallen into several dishes that ring true to its homage. Many of these items are designed to share, almost in a tapas style kind of way, so you and your friends can compare and contrast about how awesome everything tastes.
Highlights for me from the appetizer portion of their menu included a Cuban Sandwich Spring Roll with Mojo Lime Mustard and Pan Fried Dumplings with Short Rib, Lemongrass, and Corn with Sha Cha Sauce. See how these two cuisines come together? I’ve never thought about putting a Cuban sandwich and spring roll together, yet they sing wonderfully. The Mojo lime mustard adds a tartness to it that works so well with all the other ingredients inside. I’m also a sucker for anything dumpling related and theirs is done fantastically.
Their Platanos Fuertes, or main entrees, has one dish in particular that I would go back for time and time again. It is their Black Rice Seafood Paella, which comes with Clams, Shrimp, Mussels, Calamari, Mojo Verde, Sofrito and Chinese Sausage (vegetarian option also available).
My mouth was ready the instant they served me this amazing dish. Once again the fusion comes in with the Mojo Verde and the Chinese sausage which I loved along with every other ingredient inside this hearty dish. I would’ve had leftovers but it was too good to not finish during my seating. Definitely a place worth checking into this summer and beyond.
For more on Calle Dão, click here.