2011-12-21 / Restaurant of the Week

Tu Casa Resttaurrantt

Every night is a fiesta at “Tu Casa” where friends and families fill up on delicious Peruvian and pan-Latino food and fabulous cocktails, all served in a clean, comfortable restaurant with great service. Willy, the charming owner, and Rodolfo, the gallant barman and server, greet everyone with a warm, friendly smile and make you feel at home at Tu Casa. Take a break from shopping on Steinway Street and enjoy a soothing cocktail and a soul-warming meal at very reasonable prices.

The sleek interior features a modern bar at the front offering a full array of cocktails, beer, wine and their wonderful sangria that’s mixed up on the spot. Relax with a minty mojito, daiquiri, caipirinha, margarita or their signature cocktail called “Tu Casa”, which is a tasty mix of rum, liqueur and fruit juices. If you prefer, nonalcoholic, fresh fruit juices are offered such as mango, guayaba, blackberry and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with Peruvian food or Latino food in general, Tu Casa is a great place to get initiated, especially with its bilingual menu to explain everything. This cuisine is made with fresh ingredients that include fish and seafood, meat, rice, beans and more, all cooked up with flavorful, but mild spices, so nothing is too hot, but everything is delicious. You simply must start with an empañada; a flaky pastry filled with ground beef or chicken and mild spices ($5 for 2). The table next to us made short work of a platter of crispy, fried calamari served with tomato sauce. A typical apperitivo called jalea is a seafood feast of calamari, shrimp, fish and clams on a bed of fried yucca topped with a zesty lime and cilantro dressing. Chicharrones de pollo are tender chunks of white meat chicken, quickly fried until golden crisp, served with fried plantains called tostones. On a cold day, nothing will warm you better than Tu Casa’s hearty chicken soup with big chunks of chicken, corn and cilantro. Next time I’ll try the shrimp chowder.

A typical dish called ceviche is a cold seafood salad made with shrimp, fish, or a combination of both in the ceviche mixto. This incredibly fresh seafood is marinated with lime juice, cilantro and onion and the very generous platter could be shared amongst diners as a first course, or could be an entrée itself. Other seafood entrées include shrimp in garlic and white wine sauce over rice or camarones saltado; plump shrimp sautéed with onions, tomato and cilantro, served with rice and fries ($16). Rodolfo told us another popular fish dish is the steam sea trout in white wine sauce served with steamed potatoes and vegetables.

Rice and beans are present at every meal in much of Latin America and Tu Casa’s fluffy white rice and yellow seasoned rice make a great base for their fabulous beans which are made with fresh herbs and garlic. Order some of this hearty rice with their perfectly grilled chicken, stewed chicken with carrots or rotisserie chicken. Meat also plays an important role in Latin cuisine and the entraña is rich and tender skirt steak marinated and grilled to perfection. This juicy steak comes with rice, salad and sweet plantains called maduros. Hearty beef stew or juicy pork chops will really stick to your ribs. The service was very polite and efficient with dishes swiftly taken away and the table cleaned between each course. Of course, sangria was always refilled for us.

Try to 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 layer cake will end your meal nicely, along with a steaming cup of coffee.

Tu Casa is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11am to 10:30pm on weekdays and until midnight on weekends. There’s live Latin jazz on the weekends and Happy Hour specials, so check their Web Site for more information. There are delicious lunch specials Monday to Friday for $5.99 to $8.99 and orders can be delivered to your home or office. Tu Casa offers expert catering to spice up your next private event. Try some of the best Peruvian and pan-Latino in Queens at Tu Casa on Steinway Street or visit their other location on Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens. Spice up your life at Tu Casa. Buen provecho!

TU CASA

30-10 Steinway Street  Astoria
718.806.1819

www.tucasarestaurant.com

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