First Bite at Casa B
WITH SO MANY SPOTS in town touting their locavore sensibilities and comfort fare, itâ€™s a rare restaurant that drops you â€” mind, body, and palate â€” someplace else entirely. Somervilleâ€™s Casa B is one of them. The owners, architects turned caterers turned restaurateurs Alberto CabrĂ© and Angelina Jockovich, come from Puerto Rico and Colombia, respectively, and their menu draws from Spanish-Caribbean and Latin-American flavors: plantains, citrus, and seafood aplenty. The dĂ©cor, meanwhile, hints at the coupleâ€™s design background. Clad in cool white tones, the two-level space is sleek but not stark, with quirky touches like empty picture frames and a display of faded photos. Heading downstairs to the dining room, with its â€śliving wallâ€ť of greenery and bubblelike glass-pendant lighting, is like descending into another realm, not a Union Square basement.
Itâ€™s an escape, though not a culinary Shangri-La. Plantain chips with green asparagus sauce were a cheery kickoff to the meal. Order the trio of ceviches (lobster, snapper, and salmon, $18) and youâ€™ll get even more of the crispy snacks, this time mixed with taro and other root-vegetable chips.
Unfortunately, they were the high point of a recent meal. Though a pile of wild mushrooms on white sweet potato ($7, pictured above) had nice texture, the dish was rather bland. Spanish jamĂłn served with guava jam ($9) was sliced too thick, making for a rubbery mouthful, and the overly dense white corn â€śtoastsâ€ť underneath didnâ€™t help. BuĂ±uelos ($7), Colombian-style cheese fritters, were fantastically light and airy, but the accompanying aioli had an odd fishy taste. And grilled Spanish chorizo ($9) wasnâ€™t the dry, spicy sausage we expected; what arrived was smoky, moist, and mild. In fact, heat was noticeably absent across the board, a surprise given the menuâ€™s Latin influences. A little zing would go a long way.
Though dessert wasnâ€™t offered to us, the expert drinks, including a frothy pisco sour and the rum-and-vermouth-based â€śEl Presidente,â€ť filled in. And despite the menu misses, itâ€™s hard not to leave Casa Bâ€Š smiling. The food may not be transcendent, but like a weekend jaunt to San Juan, it offers a quick hit of warmth that stays with you.
253 Washington St., Somerville, 617-764-2180, casabrestaurant.com.Â Â
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/03/restaurant-review-casa-b/