Cienfuegos Brings a Vegan Spin to Cuban Food

By Annie Wu, Epoch Times
February 23, 2017 6:46 pm Last Updated: February 23, 2017 7:22 pm

Cienfuegos, the East Village cocktail lounge, has gone all-vegan. Restaurateur Ravi DeRossi, who owns 15 establishments around New York City, is in the process of making all of his restaurants vegan, in consideration of animal welfare and the environment.

Chef Josh Moore, formerly of Maialino, is at the helm at Cienfuegos, making all-vegetable renditions of Cuban classics. “We even wanted to stay away from using more traditional meat substitutes like tofu, and really focus on highlighting the vegetables in unique ways,” Moore said in an email.

Those creations include Ropa Vieja, a mound of charred cabbage, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, leek purée, and toasted rice in rum, served on radicchio leaves; sweet plantains coated with a coffee gastrique and served with ancho chili-ginger aioli; Mushroom and Tomatillo Croquetas topped with kumquat jam; and Arroz con Frijoles (rice with beans), a medley of spicy, sweet, and tart with cipollini onion, black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, and pineapple chunks.  

The Biscocho Amargo virgin cocktail. (Courtesy of Cienfuegos)
The Biscocho Amargo virgin cocktail. (Courtesy of Cienfuegos)

For dessert, you could go the chocolatey route, with a smooth chocolate mousse, accompanied with coconut whipped cream and Oreo bits; or the lightly sweet route, with Arroz con Leche, a rice pudding-like treat, flavored with spiced rum and orange. The cocktail menu, with a focus on rum, no longer includes honey, nor sugars and spirits that have been processed with animal products.

95 Avenue A (between Sixth & Seventh streets)
East Village