Tag Archives: salsa

A favorite authentic Mexican spot gets a bigger casa on East Main St. Casa Villa–Stamford, CT

22 Apr

Ceviche...so fresh!

So, we were jonesin’ for some no frills Latino last week and Kristien asked where to go.  So, there’s Ole Mole, Sierra Grille, Mi Ranchito, Mi Terruno, and more, but we felt like something new.  Just so happens that we got one of those annoying coupon books in the mail, pimping out a brand spankin’ new Casa Villa.  We’ve ordered from their other location, but this new spot is where Myrna’s used to be right on East Main Street in Stamford.  Hush hush, it’s okay…Myrna’s just moved to 980 Post Road in Darien and changed names to Cafe D’Azur.

The good, the guac, the hungry

As we walked in, we saw the differences pretty instantly.  A back room was opened up where we were seated.   Bright orange walls lit up the room and really made the atmosphere festive and lively.  We sat down at a nice and comfy table and were quickly brought a warm basket of tortilla chips (hell yes to warm tortillas) with some salsa.  The salsa here is pretty standard, but good.  Not watery, a bit chunky.  Fresh, too, with the nice and summery taste of cilantro poking through and just a hint of lime.

So, what would a nice Mexican meal be without some margaritas?  You’re right…it’d be lame.  Carlos mixed us a Patron silver margarita with freshly squeezed lime juice.  “You can’t just use a mix with good, quality tequila,” said Carlos. A wise man and quite a good barkeep.  As our margaritas arrived, so did our guacamole.  The kick of lime shot through the guac and brought a bright, fresh taste to it.  We still love Riviera Maya’s guac best, but this was good.

I gotta have Patron, I gotta have the beat

Up next?  Ceviche.  The fish was very fresh and was mixed in with peppers, red onion, and cilantro.  This was more of a Hondoruan style ceviche with a ketchup based sauce, rather than a citrus based.  We can’t say the dish was bad at all, but it’s just not the kind of ceviche that we’re used to.  We typically have the more citrus, Peruvian style. I did enjoy it, but Kristien will definitely stick with only citrus based ceviche from now on.

Finally, we were onto the main course:  I had the mole and Kristien had the chile rellenos.  The chicken was spiced nicely, sprinkled with cheese, and was smothered in a light, chocolately mole sauce.  The great thing about this mole?  For once, I was able to get the chocolate taste from the sauce, but it wasn’t overpowering, nor too sweet.  Both Kristien and I agreed that this was, by far, the best mole we’ve ever tasted.  Served with rice and beans, I didn’t want this dish to end and made sure to limit Kristien’s pilfering of my dish.

Mole mole mole moleee, moleee

She had her hands full, though, with her chile rellenos.  This was the perfect size, had the perfect amount of breading, and just the right amount of cheese to stuffing ratio inside that pepper bad boy.  Many places overdo it on both these fronts. The chicken inside was moist and full of flavor, while the sour cream’s freshness played off the incredible flavors from the stuffed pepper.  Kristien confidently said this was the best chile rellenos she’s had in CT.

With an abundance of choices for Mexican and Latino in the Stamford area, you’ve got to be great to survive.  Casa Villa worked its way up from a small, tiny little take-out and delivery shop, to an additional, new, bright spot.  We’re not saying Ole Mole and Riviera Maya aren’t good, we’re just saying that Casa Villa is really freaking good, and cheaper too!  So good that we went back on Thursday.  We ordered some tacos this time.  We loved the chorizo and al pastor tacos helluva’ lot.  With delivery as an option too, we’ll probably try more of the menu pretty soon. ;)  Also, check out Food + Beer‘s review.

An exquisite, perfectly balanced fried poblano

Noms:  4

Cost:  $$$ (Pay Day Treat)

Casa Villa

Address: 866 East Main Street

Stamford, CT 06902

Phone (Dine-in): (203) 348-0622

Phone (For take-out and delivery): (203) 323-1721

Site:  http://www.casavillarestaurant.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/casavillarestaurant

Casa Villa on Urbanspoon

A sensory explosion. Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, Norwalk (SoNo)

19 Dec

Calling Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar a sensory explosion is an understatement. In fact, as soon as you walk into their mammoth doors you’re hit with the first two sensory explosions: sight and sound. Ok, not just hit, but more like “You got knocked the f@$k out” like Smokey says to Teebo in Friday. Let’s take them one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed with the awesomeness.

Sight

Wow. No, wow doesn’t even sum it up. This place is freakin’ ridiculous. Dare I say the coolest looking restaurant in Fairfield County? Yes I dare. It starts with the rich, red, velvety, damask wall paper, then moves over to the gorgeous variety of antique/crystal/iron/goth chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, over to the swanky lounge and bar area bustling with trendy locals enjoying concoctions from their fabulous drink menu, along to the cross-shaped mirrored table in the middle of the restaurant next to a giant brick wall showcasing an eclectic variety of movies, ending with the plush, red, velvet seats nestled in cute little dining nooks for a little privacy among friends. Absolutely stunning… sexy even, rarrrr.

Sound

As busy as this place gets, you would expect it to be incredibly noisy. Luckily, the acoustics are excellent (must be all the velvety goodness soaking it up). Instead, all you really hear is fun and energetic music loudly (but not annoyingly) playing throughout the space.  And although we’ve not been to Red LuLu late at night or for a special party, I hear the musical entertainment can get quite intense!

But enough about all that, what about the foooood?! Here we move onto the two very interconnected senses:

Taste and Smell (with a twist of sight)

Once we were seated up on the wrought iron surrounded balcony overlooking the gorgeous cross table, we were greeted by our friendly waiter carrying a complimentary stainless steel bowl of steaming granita, to which he offered a splash of tequila to accompany it. Of course, we obliged! What a refreshing way to clear the palette for what was to be an amazing meal.

Then, we were presented with another complimentary dish of wonderfulness–a HUGE bowl of warm chips and a plethora of sauces and salsas for them to bathe in, including a spicy chipotle cream sauce, a fantastic spicy, sweet habanero mango sauce, an acidic and flavorful green tomatillo, and a nice, smokey roasted tomato salsa. And, to complement this variety of delish, we added one of their three guacamoles–the picante guacamole, with hell’s chile oil and fresh, hot green chiles. Not as spicy as we hoped, but still yummy! Yeah, and we totally couldn’t help ourselves from eating the entire bowl of chips with all of this! Oops.

Next up, drinks! What we thought was going to be an easy decision (margaritas, DUH), was anything but easy. With over 100 tequila choices (who the heck knew there were even over 100 tequilas on the market?), three sangria choices (including a rose, which you NEVER see), a wide variety of beers, and creative variations of margaritas, we weren’t sure where to start! We finally landed on the Red Lulu margarita for myself, an absolutely PERFECT mix of Sauza Hornitos, Patron Citronge, fresh lime, infused imperial cranberry cane syrup, and unsweetened crushed cranberry, and the Diablo for Danny, a harmonious blend of Lanazul Reposado, Luxardo Triplum, serrano chile, blood orange, and fresh pineapple, and strawberries.

Moving on, we have appetizers. As usual, stuck between about 10 different dishes, we picked the tres ceviches. As lovers of all things ceviche, how could we refuse a sampling of three different kids? Our absolute favorite of the three was the sangrita, a glorious combo of shrimp, scallops, tomato, fresh orange, hot sauce, and avocado. OMG. Second favorite was the traditional blend, consisting of grouper, fresh lime juice, serrano chile, and red onion. Very fresh and light. Although Danny thoroughly enjoyed the last one, called coco, the jury’s still out for me. The coco ceviche started with nice, fresh ahi tuna, drowning in coconut milk, a splash of fresh lime, cilantro leaves, and jalapeno. While I absolutely LOVE coconut, I feel like the coconut milk was just too heavy for a ceviche. It wasn’t bad by any means, but perhaps if they were lighter on the coconut milk and heavier on the lime, it would’ve been the perfect mix.

Now for course 2 (technically 4 if you count the granitas and chips, man we can eat), the main course! Danny had the carne asada, a grilled, marinated skirt steak (one of my faves) with flour tortillas, salsa roja, grilled red onions, and jalapenos. Holy hell, it was AMAZING (yes, of course I tasted it too)! The steak was perfectly cooked medium rare, which can be a challenge for thin skirt steak. The red onions were slightly spicy with just the perfect amount of vinegar to give it a nice, fresh acidity. And it even came with surprise, nicely seasoned french fries, like we needed that! Next time we go, I’m SO ordering that! And for me, I had the carne de vaca enchiladas from the appetizer menu, which was so huge it was anything but an appetizer. These unique and rich enchiladas consisted of slow-cooked short ribs, Negro Modello red chile sauce, and tobacco onions. While the ribs were cooked to perfection, soft, not tough or stringy at all, I would probably not get this dish again only because the Negro Modello sauce was just too rich, sweet, and overpowering for me. Though I think this is purely a taste thing, and no reflection of the quality of the dish… just look how amazing it looks in that picture. Puuurdy!

And last, but so very, very not least was dessert. Holy crap, where did we fit it? We indulged in the buenos noches, a warm, deep chocolate, espresso bread pudding (my favorite dessert of all time), topped with coffee ice cream, brown sugar caramel and hot fudge sauce. Oh wow, wow, wow, it was fantasical!

Then, just when you thought we were done, they bestow upon us the last of three complimentary dishes, a heaping serving of green apple cotton candy! How can you not fall absolutely in love with a place that ends every meal with a pile of sugary whimsy? You simply cannot, so at 4.25 noms, go here now, and go here often because it is more than a pleasure to all your senses.

Red Lulu Cocina and Tequila Bar
Noms: 4.25
Cost:  $$$

Address:  128 Washington Street
Norwalk, CT 06854
Phone:  (203) 939 – 1600
Website: http://redlulumexican.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-Lulu-Cocina-Tequila-Bar/114553975261899?ref=ts

Note: Reservations not accepted for parties under 6. Usually a long wait after 7:00PM, so go early if you can’t wait 45 mins +

Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: