Many remember Son Cubano as the Manhattan Meatpacking District hotspot, a classy destination serving up Cuban goodies and dancing in a neighborhood that was starting its transformation. I remember being a pre-teen and hearing about my brother’s adventures there. He used to go for dinner, followed by dancing on the weekends during the 2000s, when he was in his 20s and working in finance. He would tell me that images of old Cuba lined the walls and that there would be celebrity sightings when it would turn into a nightclub.

Two decades later, Son Cubano is re-located in Hudson County’s West New York, a town literally across from one of New York City’s best skyline views. Funny enough, my brother and I were raised in West New York, and little did we know that a place he frequented in his 20s during the 2000s would open its doors in our hometown.


The Son Cubano restaurant concept was created by Alexander and Edward, their two sisters, Claudia and Diane Duran, and their brother-in-law, Kevin Gouchee. The Durans are Colombian and originally from West New York, just like my brother and I are. The family opened their first concept, Flor de Sol, in 1996, a Spanish tapas restaurant on Greenwich Avenue in Tribeca. Then, in 2000, they opened Son Cubano.

The family named the restaurant after the syncretic Afro-Cuban music genre, Son Cubano, which originated in the highlands of eastern Cuba during the late 19th century. The genre became popular in Havana’s supper clubs, hotels, and restaurants while the beats inspired artists like New York’s very own Tito Puente and “The Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz, who elevated the sound to popular culture.

When creating the restaurant’s concept, the Durans wanted to revive Havana’s glamorous days, combining delectable dining options, music, and an atmosphere with Latin hospitality. With this in mind, the team created a vibrant ambiance where modern Cuban dishes and a fusion of Latin flavors with dazzling cocktails met live entertainment. (FYI: owners Alexander and Edward Duran are Colombian but married to Cuban women, hence the fusion.)

After ten years in the Meatpacking District, Alexander moved Son Cubano across the river, where the family grew up. He found the perfect location and opened on New Year’s Eve in 2010 at the Port Imperial Riverfront, with the most breathtaking, unobstructed, pristine Manhattan skyline views—from the Upper West Side to the Liberty Tower.


There’s an inviting atmosphere adorned with Cuban-inspired décor and vibrant colors, with those panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. The interior design was all a family affair, inspired by Havana’s supper clubs from the 1940s. The Art Deco design is grand and opulent, with high ceilings decorated with crystal chandeliers lined by pale blue-gray banquets with silver palm trees and mirrors. A grand circular bar separates the Havana Room from the Vista Room, the main dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows allowing lots of light. Flowing linen curtains frame the windows, a second bar and a stage for live entertainment set the mood.


The menu at Son Cubano takes patrons on a culinary journey into the heart of Cuban flavors. It features an array of dishes prepared with the utmost care and attention to detail. The culinary creations have been masterminded by celebrity Chef David Burke since 2020. Alongside Burke is Executive Chef Brian Morales, who mastered the art of cooking by working through the trenches of New Jersey’s top restaurants. Before joining the team at Son Cubano, Morales served as Sous chef at Peter Lorias’ Cafe Matisse and Executive Chef at Liberty Prime Steak.

I decided to try the brunch menu, which marries Cuban breakfast staples to the American diner. Chef Brian mentioned that he enjoys bringing new dishes and ideas every quarter. We started the afternoon with the something novel. The Clothesline Bacon featured thick cut slices with maple glaze and cracked black pepper, that literally hung on a mini clothesline. For a bit of theater, the bacon gets a crowning touch at the table with a quick blast from a blow torch. After all that I couldn’t wait to get a taste, and downed a piece with pickled pineapple on the side.

The Guacamole was tasty and had jalapenos and mango bits mixed in, making it mild and juicy. Rather than tortilla chips, taro root and plantain chips were served on the side for dipping. This was a light appetizer, especially since taro root chips have good dietary fiber and carbohydrate sources.

The Lobster and Shrimp Tacos were refreshing. The shrimp and lobster pieces were dressed in a sweet and spicy Sambal mayonnaise. To give the tacos a little zest, I squeezed some lime juice over the seafood mixture, which gave them a light, delightfully acidic taste.

We moved on to the entrees. I thought the Crispy Buttermilk Chicken with French Toast was interesting since it is usually served with waffles or pancakes. The chicken was crispy, tender, and tangy from the buttermilk, and it was coated with a spicy, sweet, and sour tamarind glaze, maple syrup, and pickled fresno chilis (less spicy and slightly sweeter than jalapenos). You can’t beat the dollop of whipped butter on top of the French toast, so decadent. The second brunch entree we tried was an irresistible Huevos Rancheros, which consisted of a crispy tortilla with three fried sunny-side-up eggs drizzled in salsa verde and topped with black beans, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and guacamole. This is a brunch classic you can’t go wrong with.

I had one of Son Cubano’s most popular cocktails, the Detox Water. This unique drink is made with Ketel One Vodka, hand-crafted butterfly pea flower syrup, fresh lemon, and minted-infused water. The cocktail looks like an elegant potion, as the purple layer is at the bottom and is clear at the top, ready to be stirred with a slender mixing spoon.

After the cocktail came the sweet ending. Quatro Leches (4 milk cakes), had a little something “extra” on the standard Cuban Tres Leches (3 milk cakes). The fourth ingredient was a creamy dulce de leche and was topped with fresh whipped cream with an assortment of wild berries surrounding it. They paired well with the moist cake and its creaminess, giving it perfect balance and sweetness.

Son Cubano is a dining establishment that offers dining versatility. You could simply stop by for a date night, have brunch with your parents or girlfriends, or even host an event in their Havana or Vista Rooms or other areas of the property. They feature live music during brunch, happy hours throughout the week, comedy specials and weekend DJs. Check the website for happenings.

For more information on Son Cubano, follow them over on Instagram @soncubanonj.

Son Cubano, 40-4 Riverwalk Pl (located at the end of the street right by the Hudson River, West New York, NJ. Details for seating capacity for hosting an event are: Vista Room: 121, Vista Bar: 13 Havana Room: 118, Havana Bar: 30, Seasonal Outdoor Patio: 140.