Cienfuegos Celebrates Rum, Says Adios to ‘Miami Cuba’


From the street, you’d never guess what’s in store for Carteles, that sliver of a sandwich shop on East 6th Street that had the neighborhood swooning over its classic Cuban sandwiches when it opened earlier this year.

But soon a staircase at the back of Carteles will be the only entrance to Cienfuegos, phase two of what Ravi DeRossi (Death & Co., Mayahuel, Bourgeois Pig) calls “a three-part story.”

Named after the capital city of the province of Cienfuegos on the southern coast of Cuba, the upstairs rum punch bar will feature “very traditional, colonial design, as opposed to ‘Miami Cuba,’ which is what most Cuban joints look like,” says DeRossi. Think cement tiles made in Puerto Rico, wingback chairs, sea-green plaster-finished walls, and wooden tables.

But let’s get to the important stuff: the drinks. Like other DeRossi projects, punchbowl-sized drinks will be front-and-center, only this time, the focus is that island darling, rum.

Designed by mixologist Charlotte Voisey, the high-octane rum punches will
be available as single servings, all the way up to punch bowls for eight (prices TBD). The Port of Mischief (see recipe below), which features no less than three types of liquor, will be the rule, not the exception.

Fortunately, DeRossi has tapped Mayahuel chef Luis Gonzales to design a small plates menu. Savory items will include ham, cheese, and potato croquetas, papa rellenas (stuffed potato cakes), and albondigas, a classic Latin meatball soup.

According to DeRossi, the third and final phase of the project, which is set to open later this summer in the prime corner space at East 6th Street and Avenue A, will be a full-service restaurant reminiscent of a traditional outdoor plaza in Cuba. East Village Grieve reports that sidewalk seating has been approved by CB3.

If Cienfuegos turns out to be anything like its little sister downstairs, this could be one very hot summer for this corner of the village.

RECIPE: Port of Mischief
(single serving)

1 1/2 oz. tawny Port
1 oz. pink grapefruit juice
1 oz. Sailor Jerry Rum
3/4 oz. velvet falernum
1/2 oz. soda

— Garnish with fresh pineapple pieces, cucumber slices, and lime wheels

Cienfuegos, 443 East 6th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, 212-614-6817