Casa’s New School Flavor

Casa Cocina Y Cantina has a new menu from Chef Alex Moreno (Bastide, Jiraffe, Spago). We were invited to check it out.

Having heard a lot about Casa, but never having seen it, I was impressed by the outdoor setup. They’re not having trouble getting customers during the recession.

Flautas were the first things we sampled. They were simple and to the point.

Next we tried the pork belly sopes which were a big step forward from the flautas. Much more flavorful and rich.

Then the new menu started. First up were the Tortas “Sliders” de Carnitas. The toasted brioche was very soft and light, the braised pork carnitas were sign of things to come and the pickled chiles and lime crema rounded out the slider/torta.

The first of two tacos we sampled were Chef Alex’s Chicken Tacos. These Yucatan-style chicken tacos with cotija cheese were big and a bit underwhelming at first. They come with a mild habanero salsa, which is an oxymoron I choose not to partake in. I applied their hot habanero salsa which elevated the dish tenfold.

The second tacos were much better. The Tacos de Camarones Fritos with caramelized pineapple and house-candied almonds were fantastic.

Then the heavy hitters hit the table. The best dish of the night was the Carnitas (confit of pork shoulder) on top of a pork belly hash and pickled onions. Succulent pork, on top of smaller pieces of pork is really the only way pork should be served.

The Braised Beef Short Ribs Birria was fall off the bone tender, but couldn’t match the Carnitas flavor. It’s not a bad dish at all, it just should have been served before the carnitas.

The tamales were served at the perfect time as the corn was so sweet it could pass for dessert. They were lighter than some other tamales in town, and work well as a side to the carnitas.

Last but not least was a Pot de Creme that in one small glass balanced the sweet to salt ratio for the whole meal.

I didn’t even mention the cocktails as I think people go to Casa for cocktails already, and the point here is to get people to go for the food. With so much competition downtown (Rivera, Yxta, Ciudad), Casa has carved a good niche- food that will appeal to a wide audience in an environment that’s conducive to socializing and having fun. The service was outstanding from the hostess to the waitresses, owners and chef.

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5 Responses to “Casa’s New School Flavor”

  1. SinoSoul Says:

    Thankfully Provecho closed…

    Interesting to see how this menu will fare during a non-media event. This kinda reminds me of Vintage not exactly working out for you.

  2. H.C. Says:

    Thanks for the report; so far it seems Casa has got its bearings for the business lunch & afterwork happy hour crowds. But I’m curious to see if the food’s up to snuff for actual dining there (or if I’m better off just boozin’ here, then moving my caboose to Starry Kitchen across the way.)

  3. My Shimoda Says:

    I wouldn’t go here purely because it looks like it’s in an airport or mall. 😡

  4. Diana Says:

    It looks like someone was using flash!

    Fun dinner. Those carnitas are definitely worth repeating.

  5. Favorite Posts From July 19 – 25, 2010 - Food GPS Says:

    […] July 22, Mr. Food Marathon investigates Casa’s New School Flavor, declaring carnitas the best dish from new chef Alex Moreno. He declares “Succulent pork, on top […]

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