Thursday, February 5, 2009

El Aljibe's secret sauce

Manager Sergio García Macías.
His mother created the original recipe.
Forget about military and industrial secrets, what's in the secret sauce at El Aljibe restaurant in Havana? It's delicious.
I asked the manager of El Aljibe to divulge his mother's 62-year-old recipe, but all he'd tell me is that it contains bitter orange, garlic and some other ingredients.
The "other" is the big unknown. My guess is that the sauce gets a boost from the juice left in the pan after they roast the poor chicken. Maybe there's not much else to it. That could be enough.
What's certain is that El Aljibe is one of the most visited restaurants in Havana. Former President Jimmy Carter, members of the Kennedy clan, Jack Nicholson, Danny Glover and Steven Spielberg are among the many VIPs who have eaten there. The restaurant's predecessor was called Rancho Luna. Clients included Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Rocky Marciano, Stan Musial, Meyer Lansky and Ernest Hemingway. This 2003 story has more on the restaurant's history. A debate over the secret sauce is here, at CubaMania. Basic information - the restaurant's location, etc. - is here and here.


thisisnowhere said...

El Aljibe's good, but like much Cuban cuisine, they're hit or miss depending on who's in the kitchen at the time. I've had dining experiences there where I've sworn I've just eaten the best meal of my life, and others where I can't remember what all the fuss was about.

Tracey Eaton said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. It's almost always good, but once in a while the chicken is dry or just doesn't have as much flavor as usual