Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dollar Menu Corn on a Stick

Grilled Corn on a Stick – Café Habana
Cafe Habana

By this point in the day, after knoblewurst, salmon, a doughnut, dumplings, a martini, a margarita/mojito, hand-pulled noodles, and Italian pastries, we are growing weak from caloric intake.  However, we are easily persuaded by neighborhood convenience, and so we pioneer on to Soho.

If we were playing Oregon Trail, this is the point where we would have been fording the river after losing two oxen and a child to dysentery.

In Soho, we head to Café Habana for Tyler Florence’s number one ON A STICK food: grilled corn Mexican style.  Confused at first by the seemingly multiplying Café Habanas, we eventually realize that we are supposed to enter the to-go stand on Elizabeth Street and not the actual restaurant (we’re a little slow on the uptake).  The corn is a whopping $2, and as we each shell out a buck, we understand that we have reached the Dollar Menu portion of our tour.
Golden Arches-Priced Corn
Now, we know that we complain a lot about waiting.  We are not the lackadaisical types.  And at Café Habana, we are left waiting on our window stools for no less than 25 minutes for our stick of corn.  This wait seems a bit excessive relative to the quantity of corn ordered.  And the addition of our food coma and booze residuals does not help us pass the time.

Eventually, our order is ready.  We escort a gleaming stick of bright yellow corn to our place at the counter.  One side is slightly browned from the grill.  The other side is covered in goop.
Mystery Goop
In another repetitive theme, the corn is ridiculously hot. 

The goop is comprised of – well, we don’t really know.  But it’s great goop.  There is cheese and paprika – that much we recognize.  The rest remains a mystery.  We squirt the provided lime slice onto the goop, which gives a solid dose of tang to the proceedings.  And despite the fact that we can barely bite into the corn based on the temperature (and the lovely tendency of the kernels to stick in our teeth), we like it.  It’s interesting.  It’s not something we’ve tasted before.  It is more than worth the $2.

But it is not worth the 25 minute wait.

Café Habana’s Grilled Corn on a Stick: 3 stars


  1. Regarding your rating system and including the wait time into how much you like it: This has nothing to do with how good it tastes. I am subsequently skeptical about the assigned star-age.

  2. Leaving Balthazar and headed over there right now. Hopefully the Wed lunch wait time is better. BTW, IIRC, the mysterious "goop" is Mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, and chili powder...possibly something else I'm missing, though.