An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 21, 2013
07:53 AMThe Connecticut Table
Gourmet Latin Fare at Rubamba in New Haven
Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Rubamba ceviche: citrus-cured tilapia, shrimp, tomato, cilantro, onion, avocado and chipotle.
You’ve probably seen the cheerful Ay Arepa! food trucks around New Haven. But it’s easy to miss their home base: Rubamba on High Street. A tiny restaurant easy to overlook if you sneezed as you walked by, but the bustle in the doorway is a dead giveaway that delicious food can be found within.
Owner and chef Ernesto Garcia is all of 26 years old and has only been cooking for nine years, but he’s mastered cuisines from all over Latin America. Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Garcia came to the U.S. in 2003. He started school and worked part time in New Haven restaurants: six years with Latin cuisine, and one more at a French restaurant. Then he and two partners struck out on their own in 2009, opening Ay Salsa! at the High Street location.
In 2010 they launched their first Ay Arepa! cart, because they found arepas were the most popular item on their menu. You can now find Ay Arepa! carts in three locations: Cedar Street, York and Elm streets, and Hillhouse Avenue at Sachem Street.