Once difference between a basic picadillo and this picadillo de la Habanera, said the owner of Paladar Cubano, is that a little pork and ham are minced together with the usual beef. Digging in, I uncovered a few raisins among the bits of bell pepper, but the overall flavor wasn't sweet; though sugar is indeed used in some recipes, the owner continued, that's not the style of his home city. Do look, however, for chunks of fried potato on top, he added — that's a sure sign of a chef from Havana. (For more fried potatoes atop meat, see the frita Cubana.)
My order ($5.50) was filled out by toasted, buttered rounds of Cuban bread, congri — a little olive oil and vinegar helped bring out the flavors of the rice and black beans — and fried yuca.
233 61st St. (Hudson Ave.-Fillmore Pl.), West New York, New Jersey