Lena and Habana
Habana's pleasant surprises raised expectations for dinner in the showplace space upstairs. Strolling into Lena's large dining room, you immediately feel a sense of good design, reaffirmed in everything your eye lands upon, from the tall white freestanding chimenea fireplace in front to porthole openings between booths. Elegance exudes from soft white lights and creamy textured walls setting off tropical-wood-toned trim and sculptures.
Though Lena had been open for a month by the time I ate there, the best thing to be said about my first meal was that it showed potential for greatness.
It didn't start out well. The beef empanada had unappetizingly greasy dough and more raisins than beef in the filling--traditional, yes, but not what I expected based on the menu description. A starter of smashed and fried plantain tostones came decked out in salsa and cheese sauce scribbles but tasted mushy and bland.