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Casa Azul Now Offering Table Service, Expanded Menu & Cocktails 

I am no vegetarian. But I do tend to treat meat as a supporting character rather than the star of a meal. So last weekend, when I seriously considered finger licking clean the pork fat-slicked remnants of what had been an outstanding skillet of house made chorizo, I was surprised to say the least.

Escabeche

That chorizo was just one of a few of small plates I tried on a visit to Casa Azul’s recently opened second floor dining room. It’s a new space that, in addition to more seating, affords guests access to table service, an expanded food menu, and a full bar and cocktail program focused on Latin American spirits.

But more on that chorizo. It comprised a mince of garlicky, coriander-heavy sausage bound by a mildly spicy sauce of chile de arbol and fruit-forward dried guajillo and ancho chiles. The whole crimson affair was topped with wisps of fresh radish and a gently poached egg, and it was accompanied by fresh corn tortillas so soft and pillowy I had half a mind to rest my sweet little head on them. Instead, I turned them into savory pockets of meat and glistening yolk—the right move, to be sure.

Escabeche

There was also very good food beyond the chorizo. On the night we dined, the expanded featured a mixed vegetable “escabeche” of blistered carrots, pickled purple cauliflower, and candied pepitas over fresh cheese whipped with chipotle in adobe and agave ($8); a striped bass ceviche tostada accented with watermelon radish, cilantro, and red cabbage ($10); a bulging, crisp masa mushroom quesadilla that ate like an oversized empanada ($8);

Striped bass ceviche tostada

and dueling grilled and fried calamari with salsa verde ($15). Soon, the upstairs dining room will also offer large, family-style entrees in addition to small plates and the tacos that have been Casa Azul’s bailiwick from the start.

To experience Casa Azul’s unique brand of bold Mexican cooking for yourself, swing by Genesee Street for happy hour or dinner, or consider attending the restaurant’s

Masa mushroom quesadilla

grand opening party on Saturday, March 25. Ticket-holding attendees will sit down to a multicourse dinner prepared collaboratively by Casa Azul co-owners Victor Parra and Zina Lapi, and guest chef Francisco Hidalgo, with an optional cocktail pairing designed by bar team leads Tony Rials and Joe Whyte. Check out the menu and visit the event page on Facebook for details.

Casa Azul | 128 Genesee Street | Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-331-3869 | Facebook

Written by Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin has covered local food and drink for Buffalo Rising since 2015, having previously written for Artvoice, the Public, and the Buffalo News. She works full time in marketing communications and is earning her master's degree in history at University at Buffalo, the latter of which occasionally informs her writing. Most importantly, she likes the word "moist" and doesn't care who knows it. How else do you describe a great piece of cake?

View All Articles by Caitlin Hartney
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