Drew and I got to go to Rogers one weekend for some time on Beaver Lake before he had some work to do in Fayetteville. While we were there, we had some amazing food! Here are the two highlights:
HAVANA TROPICAL GRILL
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been here before and loved it. I came back for the same dishes, in fact. Here’s the breakdown:
Seated in a small shopping center off of busy Walnut street, Havana Tropical Grill doesn’t stand out, but is easy enough to find.
The interior is open, with plenty of space and tables, with a few Cuban themed items to give it some ambiance. The really long bar with signs about special mojitos and what-not gives the impression this place may be known for its drinks….but I was here for the food.
The menu truly is Cuban. Full of appetizers such as fried yuca, empanadas, cuban meatballs (abondigas), etc. There are also a variety of Cuban pressed sandwiches, as well as many Cucan specialties such as Ropa Vieja, Vaca Frita, Cuban steak and fries, and so much more. It was definitely hard to decide what to get the first time I came here.
On our first visit, we got the appetizer sampler, which included fried empanadas, ham croquetas, fried plantains, sweet plantains, and fried yuca. While it was all delicious, the ham croquetas stood out above all the rest…by far.
Croquetas (4): $7
Description: Handmade ham croquettes, lightly battered and fried, served with house sauce.
Oh. My. Gosh. These are to die for. Therefore, we only got the croquetas for our appetizer this time, no need to waste time on the rest of the apps.
These babies are crunchy on the outside (not too greasy) but so silky smoothe on the inside. The ham must be put through a food processor and tastes smoky and perfect. The dipping sauce is a little tangy to give a nice balance to the richness of the croquetas.
Cuban Sandwich: $10.50
Description: Slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, a touch of garlic butter, and pressed on Cuban bread. Served with one side item.
No doubt, this is the best Cuban sandwich I have ever had. Granted, I order it without cheese, but it was still absolutely juicy and decadent. The bread is perfect with garlic butter making it very flavorful. The roasted pork is so tender and juicy. The mustard gives it that perfect bit of tanginess. I want another one, now. Get this.
The fried plantains are perfectly fried and very good for fried plantains. In my opinion, fried plantains are a little bland, so dipping them in the green oil/ sauce they give you is a must.
Mofongo with Vaca Frita: $15
Description: Green plantains mashed with garlic and pork chunks, with your choice of meat.
This heaping, beautiful plate is so worth $15. First off, I love mofongo. If you haven’t had it, it is fried plantains mashed with garlic and pork and shaped into a bowl. Then, it is filled with the meat of your choice. I got vaca frita, which is seared (crispy) beef with onions. Here, they put the extra meat that won’t fit in the mofongo on your plate so you can keep adding the meat as you need.
The vaca frita was so juicy and flavorful, though there were way too many onions, in my opinion. The juices make the somewhat dry mofongo very tasty and juicy. It was delicious! I couldn’t even finish 1/3 of it, but took the rest to the hotel to microwave for leftovers that night.
Anytime I’m in the area, I stop here. The croquetas and the Cuban are a must. While the mofongo is a must-have if you’ve never tried it before, it isn’t the best mofongo I’ve had. Though, it is still delicious! The service was also great. I love this place.
PERSEPHONĒ ON WHEELS
After a day on the beautiful Beaver Lake, some friends suggested this food truck, with plenty of options for our vegetarian friend. Here’s the breakdown:
Well, it’s a food truck. Though, this one does offer free water from a cooler, which was nice.
They also had a really nice area next to the food truck with cute tables and chairs, each with a small vase of flowers on it. It was super cute and cozy. However, the flies were so awful, we had to leave to eat elsewhere.
The menu seems like a modern twist on Greek food. With appetizers such as “aphrodite tots, falafel cones, and a honey fruit bowl. There were many pita sandwiches to choose from : falafel, sweet potato masala, gyro, and more. There were also sides such as garlic fries or tots, greek salad, hummus and pita, etc. There’s even a kids’ menu.
Aphrodite Tots: $6
Description: Feta, veggies, house pickles, olives, fried garlic, tzatziki sauce.
These tots were beautiful. There is an option to add on falafel or gyro meat for $3, but I forgot to mention I wanted added falafel. I also ordered mine without feta. These tots were beautiful! And very large. However, they were a little greasy. However, the mixture of pickles veggies and tzatziki sauce really brightened them up. These were very unique and tasty.
Gyro Pita (made into a salad bowl): $12
Description: roasted pork, grilled onion, cabbage, tomato, pickles onions, tzatziki sauce….salad bowl comes with no pita, but everything is put onto a bed of greens.
While it is hard to tell the difference between the looks of these two dishes, this one was both Drew and my favorite. The pork was tender and juicy and mellowed out the tanginess of the pickled onions and tzatziki. All the colors, flavors, and textures really made a delicious dish. I would get this again over the Aphrodite tots, as this dish was juicier and more flavorful with that delicious pork.
*While I don’t have a picture of it, my friend ordered the sweet potato masala pita. Personally, I don’t love sweet potatoes, but she swore this was their best dish and insisted I take a bite. She was right. This was phenomenal…I may have “tried” her pita a couple other times. I would definitely get this- whether you are a vegetarian or sweet potato-lover or not.
Overall- Especially the Service
It must be noted how amazing the people that own and work this food truck are. A mother and daughter were more than accommodating to us: explaining the menu, answering a million questions with no sense of being in a rush. Even when I ordered both dishes without feta, and one had feta, (granted, my order was not as specific as it should have been, this was probably my fault) they were extremely apologetic and got me a new dish without feta very promptly. They could not have been more welcoming and kind. Go visit these ladies, their food is great!