Expect the unexpected when you visit Finka Table and Tap, a Cuban, Korean, Peruvian Fusion gastropub, inside a brick building that previously housed KFC. A 260 seater that would make any chef/owner run a mile but not pint sized Chef Eileen Andrade. She’s a little firecracker with enough energy to shoot off a rocket!
I love the many ways the restaurant is divided into areas. It’s not just one vast space, so it gives a cozy ambience. The vintage, rustic, shabby chic decor make you feel as if you’re in a dining room of a house and not a restaurant. Something for everyone and that goes for the menu.
However, Eileen’s personal decor style is just the opposite. Very zen, industrial and modern at her home and you’ll never guess, it’s an igloo, how cute is that. She was featured in a ‘behind the scenes’ article by The Kitchn, my go to site for cooking. Eileen’s background was in fashion, often, you’ll see her wearing spiffy black outfits with stylish hairdos and makeup. And she’s tiny like me, I didn’t realize how tiny till we took a photo together. I’m so glad Eileen has found her own niche. It all started when she fell in love with Korean food after traveling to Korea and learned to cook from an old Korean lady. Her mentor was a Peruvian chef and when she put all three flavors together, she knew it would work. Of course, only after having her friends be guinea pigs. She started Finka after a stint opening CubanCube, a food truck with her brother, Jon. This beautiful video by Travelspective showcases her philosophy and how Finka came about.
When I met her parents, we immediately struck up a friendship. We come from the same background, they’re from Cuba and I’m from China, no need to say more. Her mom, Nancy told us how her parents came to America and opened a very successful restaurant 30 years ago, Isla Canarias. There are currently two Isla Canarias which are still going strong, located near Finka. Wow, that was some genius marketing to capture the demographic of people who enjoy Isla. I know foodies who travel 2 hours to get their fill of her Cuban, Korean, Peruvian Fusion dishes. You just have to see the stack of meal tickets on Instagram every night to understand Finka’s popularity. Her menu is clever, she covers a wide spectrum of dishes from flatbreads, wok dishes to lighter fare and lots of vegetarian options as well as the more unusual Ostrich or Bison and what about a Cuban Bibimbap!
I love Eileen’s concept, I enjoy a good mashup and it’s how I cook and encourage Wok Stars to do same. I would rather have people cook good food with a mix of ethnic flavors than mediocre traditional dishes. I discovered how much Latinos and Hispanics love Asian flavors when I started giving cooking classes in Miami, they even know how to say “si yow,” Chinese for soy sauce.
Rock on Eileen!
Note: my dinner was complimentary but doesn’t sway my judgement.