Pablo Taura wants to get to the point where people no longer ask him what's in a Cuban sandwich.

The six ingredients are printed on the uniforms of his new restaurant, Pablo's Havana Cafe at 9685 Sawmill Road, just west of the Powell city limits.

"Everybody asks," Taura said. "It's on my business card, too."

Here's the rundown: It uses Cuban bread baked in Tampa, house-roasted pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, sliced pickles and yellow mustard pressed on a panini grill. The 9-inch sandwich, called the El Cubano, is the signature dish for the restaurant.

Pablo's Havana Cafe opened three weeks ago without a banner sign and in a strip center that's perpendicular to Powell Road, so it is not easy to spot. Nevertheless, word of Taura's homespun Cuban cuisine quickly has spread throughout central Ohio.

"The people, you know, the foodies, they say, 'We found you,' " he said.

Taura's parents fled Cuba in 1967 when he was 5 years old. They moved to Union City, New Jersey, an enclave of Latino transplants.

In Cuba, his grandmother, Anita, cooked on a farm, where she met her future husband, Florentino. Her cooking was renowned in her community -- the family later moved to Havana -- and was the inspiration for Pablo's Havana Cafe.

"We're trying to create a family environment that is unique to the industry," he said.

Taura spent much of his life in the restaurant world, working as food-and-beverage manager at the celebrated Tavern on the Green in New York City and McDonald's, and as an accountant. But he never lost his desire to cook the food of his native country that was developed by his grandmother.

He worked on recreating the recipes with his mother, Sonia, who never wrote anything down. Eventually, his grandmother made it to America and taught the family how to make the dishes, down to the last teaspoon of cumin.

Taura has kept the menu small and manageable, with the menu focused on soups and salads, a handful of sandwiches and three platters -- picadillo (ground beef), ropa vieja (shredded beef) and arroz con pollo (chicken with rice).

Another version of the Cuban sandwich is the La Cubana, where grilled chicken is substituted for the roasted pork.

Taura even has created his own items, such as the tostones rellenos, green plantains formed into little cups and deep-fried, and then stuffed with a choice of picadillo, ropa vieja, pork or arroz con pollo.

Most individual items are $5 to $12.

Pablo's also serves Cuban espresso and cafe con leche.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 pm. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 614-389-4302.


Tio's Margaritas has a new name: La Herradura Mexican Restaurant & Bar, 5855 Frantz Road near Dublin.

Tio's owner Martin Morales brought in partner Juan Ocampo to jump-start the menu.

The spacious interior remains largely the same, with a fireplace in the middle of the dining room, but several signature dishes have been added, including the carne Zamora -- steak smothered in a red pinto bean sauce and sided with nopailto salad, pickled onions, potatoes and chorizo and two cheese quesadillas.

In Spanish, La Herradura means "horseshoe," a sign of good luck.


Central Ohio's third Fox in the Snow Cafe opened Jan. 12, at 160 W. Main St. in New Albany.

The cafe is known for its homemade baked goods, coffee, tea and light fare, such as the popular souffled-egg sandwich.

Fox in the Snow's other locations are in German Village and Italian Village.


Two restaurants recently have closed: Haveli Express, 5720 Frantz Road in Dublin, and King Avenue 5, 945 King Ave. in Columbus.