Jose Garces' newest addition, Rosa Blanca, is set to open on Monday, December 16. Eater checked in yesterday, while the staff was deep in training mode, to check out the renovations to the space that previously housed the Peruvian-Chinese joint Chifa.
Chifa only closed in July of this year to make way for the new Cuban diner, so the turnaround was pretty quick. But the concept for the new restaurant has been a long time coming. There's the family connection to the cuisine — Jose's wife, Dr. Beatriz Garces, is Cuban — as well as the professional one from his time spent at Alma de Cuba. Garces Group culinary director, Michael Fiorello, suggested that the idea has been brewing for as many as eight years. The diner's name was inspired by a poem by the Cuban national Jose Marti.
Offered up is a menu a bit more approachable than its predecessor, Chifa — and with larger portions. Classic Cuban coffee, pastries, and mixed drinks are all on the table, and if you plan on diving deeper, chef de cuisine Yun Fuentes is delivering cheffy twists to the comfort food that's close to his Puerto Rican heart in the kitchen.
The interior, designed by Brooklyn-based Creme Design, has a nice retro feel in aquas and oranges. Continue through to our photo gallery to see the space, the diner-perfect menus, the team that's been putting it all together, and more.