Look for an expanded menu at Havana Road this week. Marta Ines Quintana, owner and chef at Towson's Cuban restaurant, is making permanent some of her customers' most favorite specials.
These are things, Quintana says, like the arroz con veneras, sea scallops sauteed in Havana Road's garlic sauce and then tossed with yellow rice. A handful of side dishes (cositas) have been put on permanent rotation, too -- fresh yucca with Quintana's mojo sauce; maccarones con bechamel, Cuban-style macaroni and cheese; and arroz con heuvo frito, a traditional Cuban snack of fried egg over rice.
The tapas line-up for July and August includes melon-cucumber gazpacho, an empanadas de picadillo, shrimp in garlic-brandy sauce, and a shrimp po'boy, dressed with Quintana's Cuban Creole aioli.
The tapas menu, which is available from 2-6:30 p.m., also will feature a Cuban Cigar, a crab croquette formed into a cigar shaped, served on hot pan Cubano with avocados and tomatoes. And the special summer dessert is a pistachio poundcake topped with seasonal fruit.
Quintana will soon start introducing, as weekend specials, some dishes that reflect Cuba's melting pot. "Cuba was a mecca for Spaniards, Jewish and Asian immigrants," she said. "I want to bring those diverse cuisines into the restaurant. One of those dishes, which she calls Cuban fried rice, Quintana was what Chinese mother of a third-grade classmate made when she came to dinner. The dish uses a guava soy sauce a hint of cumin, and a dash of lime.
Quintana also plans to introduce her own grandmother's Moroccan version of pork tigane which introduces wine-garlic sauce, pears and apricots to the classic Cuban dish.