When Pasión opened earlier this year, it was offering a range of Central and South American dishes, but it was mainly a Cuban restaurant at heart – serving Cuban classics like Ropa Vieja and roast pork.
Now, with a new chef heading up the kitchen, Pasión is diving deeper into Cuban cuisine and offering rustic and Mid Century dishes that were more popular when legendary American author Ernest Hemingway roamed the Caribbean island.
The new head chef Adrian Muñoz is a Cuba native and he recently told me Pasión’s new menu will reflect both his family traditions and his culinary training.
“I get upset because we have so many dishes in Cuba,” he said. “We have a lot of different dishes that are just as interesting as classics like roast pork. I had the chance to try some of these dishes when I was a child because my grandfather was a chef, and now I want to make new recipes but still stick to tradition.”
“If a Cuban in their late 40s or late 50s tries any of these dishes, they’re going to recognize the flavors. It doesn’t matter if the presentation is different. It’s going to be the same flavors they used to taste in Cuba.”
The Langosta Estilo Batano (Lobster Batano-style) is a perfect example of the creativity, vibrancy and tradition Muñoz is putting forward. Batano is a Cuban city known for the high-quality lobsters living just offshore and this dish fuses the tasty crustacean meat to the sweetness of pineapple and acidic snap of onions. Parmesan cheese and cream push the decadence even further and a sprinkling of almonds adds a pleasing crunch. It’s all heaped into half of a hollowed-out pineapple.
In addition to a new menu, bar manager Tanner Koza will be debuting a scaled back cocktail menu that will still have primarily a Caribbean influence. Koza said he’s also looking to infuse some playfulness into his bar by embracing tiki culture.
“Craft cocktail has gotten into things where we have to keep creating these new, new things, and I’m just like ‘No!’ I’m going to use some good spirits, fresh juices, and just create good cocktails that have been around for a while,” he said.
It doesn’t get any more classic than a Zombie. Served in a massive tiki mug, the drink includes three different rums, including a 151-proof demerara rum. Pasión’s Zombie will be made with passion fruit juice, absinthe and a house-made coconut cream.
On Friday August 12, Pasión is celebrating both new menus with a relaunch party. The local Latin band Sol Y Sombra will be playing inside from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Dancers from Baila Salsa Dance Co. will be performing along with the band from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
To further add to the atmosphere, hand-rolled cigars from Cigars by Gregorio will also be for sale for $10 on the lounge side of the patio from 8/11pm.
At 11:30 p.m. the focus will shift to the bar inside where local DJs will be spinning dance music until close.
For more information and event details head to the Facebook event page. Reservations are encouraged but not required and can be made by calling (716) 436-2444.
Friday, August 12
Starting at 5 p.m.
153 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14201