Another Wednesday, another swim lesson with Finn and a follow up of bevvies and food. Through a bit of creative scheduling Mrs In Vino Veritas and Jack joined us for an early happy hour at Havana 59.
Back in the day (last century…) Havana-59 was a constant hang out for myself and my co-workers from a certain local credit card company. Smoking of over-priced cigars, swilling of single malts (because you know you can taste the difference after your taste buds have been overwhelmed by some Haitian piece of tobacco-weed), and general debauchery. Countless weekends as the ‘brunch destination’ during recruitment weekends. Yes, this was the jumping off point for several thousand Capital One employees and their status in the dating pool for the more senior staff. With all the company money spent there you really have to wonder how they got into the trouble they did. Why bring the attention of the IRS to a profitable business? Pay the damn taxes and keep printing the money! Greed, the downfall of everyone from Studio 54 to the local bar of the moment.
So, it was with a bit of surprise that I heard a little bit of buzz about H-59 over the last couple of weeks. Did I really want to go back there? Did I really want to spend my own money there (no longer in servitude to Cap-1)? Back in the day it was expensive, inconsistent food, middling service. Not someplace you go on your own dime. What the hell… Let’s give it try….
The crowd I was meeting seemed more interesting than the place. Mrs In Vino Veritas and Jack. Add Finn to the mix and it looked to be an interesting get-together. We arrived with Jack already at the scene and the bartenders started the martini’s flowing. First impression was bar-keeps interested in keeping the drinks full and the customers happy – a change from the recent experiences at Can-Can. Mrs Vino arrived and we kicked it up another notch.
Drink recap -
Martini’s – whether gin or vodka they were done well and had the brands you want.
Mixed Drinks – we had a few – good strong mixes served in glasses without lipstick – always a good sign to me….
Mojitos – disappointment of the evening. They muddled the mint into simple syrup in advance (why?) and let it sit. The addition of a shot of sweet and sour mix killed it completely. In need of a major overhaul, this was inexcusable.
The orginal plan had been to enjoy their upstairs balcony. Relaxing, airy, and a different menu from the main room. Seems they only open it on Friday and Saturday. Kinda sad for those of us who prefer to avoid the amateur drinkers on the weekends. They say that they will start opening the balcony on Thursdays soon… seems a bit late in the RVA balcony season to do that…. should have been open in March.
While I was drinking Finn needed some food. Sadly, the menu that IVV had the other night upstairs was not available and it was a bit difficult to find something for Finn. The first app I chose for him, and me to taste, was the Cuban Spring Roll. The plate came out and Finn dug into the shoe-string fries that came with this. I managed to grab a couple and they were nice, crispy and salty – not greasy. The rolls were impressive. I can’t recall many upscale Asian restaurants who could do a roll so crispy with no greasiness. Too bad the stuffing was so sad. Basically a bland pulled pork. Oddly, Finn loved the mustard sauce that came with it. It tasted a bit like mustard infused with gherkins. He spent the next 20 minutes dipping his fingers into it and licking off the sauce.
As the evening progressed Finn got increasingly restless. First he used my cell-phone to take pictures, then IVV’s Blackberry for gratuitous button pushing, and then he got hold of Jack’s cell… Somehow Finn managed to call, repeatedly, an ex of Jacks. The poor girl, obviously not listening to the 3-year-old babble left on the voicemail (or was that the kind of message Jack leaves?), called back a while later and…..
Jack was an actual gentleman. From what I could hear from his cell she was a bit pissed. He never let on and tried to explain. Not his fault she thought he was looking for a hook-up when my 3-year-old was ‘toddler’-dialing.
As Finn finished his Cuban spring rolls I ordered a bit of pizza for him. Sadly this took a little too long and he hit his expiration. The staff at H-59 did a very nice job of humouring him and allowing him to run rampant around a portion of the restaurant. As an odd aside Jack took a lot of joy playing and distracting him. Perhaps there is a whole new population, single moms, that Jack can debauch.
Oh, the pizza. Crust like crispy naan bread, cheese, onions, duck bacon. Very tasty.
I think we’ll go back…. just not for the mojitos….