2010-11-17 / Restaurant of the Week

Tu Casa Restaurant

Spice up your life with the flavors and warmth of pan-Latino cuisine at Tu Casa Restaurant. Tu Casa features Peruvian and Dominican dishes served in a chic restaurant with fabulous cocktails, sangria and a charming staff led by Willy. Their newest location on Steinway Street opened just about six weeks ago after years of success at their first location on Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens. Lucky Astorians can now partake of the delicious dishes that Tu Casa prepares seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The prices are so reasonable, there’s nothing to hold you back, so run, don’t walk to Tu Casa.

The comfortable, sleek dining room features stone tile floors, dark wood tables and soft lighting. The modern bar at the front features a full array of cocktails, beer, wine and oh yes, sangria, which is some of the best around. Cocktails include minty mojitos, caipirinhas, margaritas and a signature cocktail called “Tu Casa”, which is a tasty concoction of rum, liqueur and fruit juices. If you prefer, fresh fruit juices are offered such as mango, guayaba, blackberry and more.

Dishes reflect the variety of the cuisine and include choices in meat, chicken, fish, seafood and vegetables. The bilingual menu features Peruvian, Dominican and Caribbean specialties, all prepared on the spot and beautifully presented. Willy, our kind and charming host ordered a feast for us, which would allow us to sample the best of Tu Casa’s cuisine. We started with a crunchy garden salad topped with sliced avocado and a choice of

garlic or spicy dressing. This salad can be topped with grilled chicken, steak or shrimp and served as a meal itself. Empanadas are tender, flaky pastry filled with either ground beef or chicken and mild spices and these were just great, served piping hot and crisp ($1.50 each). A traditional dish of sliced potatoes topped with Peruvian cheese sauce was delicious and provided enough to share. Everyone will love the chicharrones de pollo, tender chunks of white meat chicken that are quickly fried until golden crunchy and delectable, served with tostones, which are fried plantains ($8.99). This dish can be ordered as an entrée or shared as a first course, as we did. Ceviche is a cold seafood salad marinated with onion and lime juice that makes an excellent starter ($4.99). Peruvian seafood chowder and hearty chicken soup will become your new best friends this winter as they warm you inside and out.

Entrees cover tender chicken dishes, succulent meats, fish and seafood and their fabulous rice and beans. Starting with mariscos or seafood, we had a classic platter of Jalea which combines tender, fried calamari, plump shrimp, sweet clams and chunks of fish topped with a zesty sauce of tomato, onion and lime juice. A bed of yucca soaks up all these delicious flavors and provides a treat at the end of the meal. Shrimps in garlic sauce is another house favorite, with its aromatic sauce that is ideal spooned over rice ($14.99). For a simple fish dish, the flaky sea trout is steamed with white wine and served with white rice ($13.99).

Meat also plays an important role in this cuisine and the entrana is an impossibly rich and tender skirt steak marinated and grilled to perfection. Maduros are sweet plantains that go well with this dish, along with the chimichurri sauce, rice and salad ($15.99). Hearty beef stew is the perfect winter meal. How about two juicy pork chops hot off the grill or fried till golden? Pernil is roasted pork that falls off the bone and is shredded and served with moro rice ($8.49). Keep it lighter with grilled chicken breast or roasted chicken, basted with savory herbs and spices. A quarter chicken with rice and beans costs only $5.99 and a half chicken is $8.99. Take one home on your way from work and enjoy. Pollo guisado is a hearty chicken stew, also perfect for the season.

Rice and beans are present at every meal in much of Latin America and restaurants are often judged by theirs. Tu Casa serves fluffy white rice or seasoned rice with an orange hue, from the natural flavorings used. For the beans, the chef uses fresh herbs and garlic and no meat or lard, so even vegetarians can enjoy a generous serving of these delicious, healthful beans. There are even fried rice dishes and the one we shared was laced with shrimp, soft shell crabs and clams. Fried rice dishes are usually prepared for two to share or they can make an excellent side dish for a table of diners.


Pedro, our polite waiter, kept the dishes coming and going as he refilled our glasses with more of that delicious sangria. Save some room for dessert because the tres leches cake is made with three kinds of milk and is creamy and sweet. Cool, creamy flan, cheesecake or chocolate fudge cake will end your meal nicely, along with a robust coffee.

Tu Casa is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11am to 10:30pm. There are delicious and economical lunch specials Monday to Friday from $5.99 to $8.99 and orders can be delivered to your home or office. Tu Casa can also provide catering to make your next event a home run. Visit Tu Casa after work, after a day of shopping on Steinway Street or before you head to the movies. With delectable Peruvian, Latin and Caribbean cuisine, a trip to Tu Casa will warm your soul. Willy says “Mi Casa as Tu Casa”. See their website for menus and tantalizing photos.

30-10 Steinway Street • Astoria

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