You cant miss La Cazuela Restaurant as you drive along busy Northern Boulevard. Oscar Diego Barrera and family have the building draped in a colorful display of lights, outlining the entire structure along with trimmed trees and awnings. Its quite a festive site.
Along with being a destination for local lovers of authentic Columbian cuisine, La Cazuela is also popular in celebrity circles. Several professional athletes are part of this faithful following including such notables as former New York Met Edgardo Alfonzo, soccer star Carlos Valderrama and St Louis Cardinal shortstop Edgar Renteria. Even Miss Columbia made La Cazuela a stop on her American tour.
On a cold Wednesday I paid a visit to La Cazuela. After entering we were immediately greeted by a very cheerful waiter and escorted to a table in the first floor dinning room. After taking our cocktail order the waiter presented La Cazuelas unique dinner menu. A small clipboard holds short decorative pages covered with leathery cloth embossed with the restaurants name. Along with the traditional dinner offerings there is a complete section of casserole dishes that are very popular at La Cazuela.
For starters my friend ordered an avocado salad while my choice was the traditional Caesar. The salads were of nice portion size with the avocado salad being the more enticing of the two. Large slices of avocado were laced into the ingredients of a traditional garden salad. My Caesar salad was a bit surprising being accompanied by warm chicken slices and tomatoes. Both salads were fresh and a pleasant way to start this dining experience.
After great deliberation about our entrees choices my companion selected sea bass while my choice was grilled prawns. Seafood seems to be the specialty at La Cazuela.
The pace of service was perfect, allowing just enough time between courses. The entrée presentation at La Cazuela is quite interesting. Most entrées are served on large wooden boards covered with a bed of fresh lettuce. Resting atop the lettuce are slices of tomatoes and fried plantain (aka: tostones) which added flavor and color to these unique dishes.
The sea bass was fresh and very flavorful. Not being accustomed to full fish presentations my friend found it a bit laborious to navigate the bones. Although that was somewhat of a challenge he did manage to devour the entire fish.
My order of grilled prawns was well-sized and perfectly seared. They appeared to have been prepared with a garlic rub prior to grilling. The flavor was quite nice as the tender prawns were complimented by a side dishe of white rice.
For dessert our waiter suggested the flan and I opted for an unusual offering of cheese and caramel. The flan was sweet, moist and very enjoyable. The portion size was perfect. My order of cheese and caramel was somewhat confusing to the uneducated Columbian diner. The caramel is not melted; it is thick and chewy resting in the center of a souffle bowl. It was accompanied with thick slices of white cheese. The correct way to enjoy this dish is to taste each ingredient separately.
The coffee selection was limited, offering only traditional coffee. My companion and I were both quite surprised that espresso or other Columbian coffees were not available after the meal.
La Cazuela offers an authentic Columbian dining experience. The large restaurant and friendly service is a welcome sight on Northern Boulevard. From the traditional boiling Columbian seafood dishes to the full variety of fresh fruit shakes and unique desserts, La Cazuela is a great place to visit. The Web site offers a very good over view of this unique restaurant (www.lacazu
Resurrection Cocktail: Boiling hot clay bowl of mixed seafood...$16
Coconut Shrimp: Large-size shrimp coated with fresh coconut breading...$8
La Cazuela: Seafood casserole with a variety of fresh seafood served with a boiling hot cocoa cream sauce in a special clay bowl...$20.
La Diabla: Spicy shrimp in a thick tomato sauce with sliced mushrooms...$16.
Hours of Operation
Fri., Sat., Sun, noon to 1 a.m.
Reservations: Weekdays only
Parking: Street / valet weekends
Dress: Neat but casual
Credit Cards: All major
Children menu: Yes
Off-premise catering: Yes
Private Parties: 85 +
Noise level: Comfortable
Handicap Access: No
©2003 Community News Group
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