Tuesday, January 25, 2011

La Casona

3820 Stewart Rd., Doraville, GA 770/458-6657

Last night Heidi, Ilya and I dined at La Casona, a Columbian restaurant just off of 285 at Buford Hwy. You won't have any trouble finding this restaurant - you can see it from the highway.

We began our meal with 3 orders of empanadas ($1.25 each). We liked these. They are very deeply fried, with soft beef inside and a nice, slightly spicy sauce. We were also served three very small, condiment-sized portions of sweet rice pudding just before receiving our empanadas. The pudding was good (and complimentary), with a hint of coconut. Like I said, it was good, but you only get about two spoonfuls.

Heidi ordered the Milanese, thin-sliced breaded beef with sides of fried green plantains, a pitiful salad and rice. I say the salad is pitiful because it consisted of two slices of unripe tomato (yes, I realize it's the middle of winter and tomatoes aren't in season, but this was really bad), some sad looking lettuce and two slices of avocado (the one redeeming component). I think the kitchen should have just left this off the plate entirely. I found the plantains to be in dire need of salt, but I often feel this way about green plantains, even at The Cuban Diner in Marietta, where I'm always happy with the rest of my meal. The rice at La Casona was actually pretty good - cooked correctly and quite salty.

I ordered the breaded pork. The menu at La Casona has lots of breaded meats. My pork was better than Heidi's beef, more flavorful and only slightly overcooked. Again, same as above with the side dishes.

I can't find a website, much less an online menu for this restaurant, but I can tell you that the hard copy menu you'll get when you're there is only about 2/3rds translated into English (from Spanish). I remember it lists beef with onion, chicken dishes, and several meat or fish dishes with Creole sauce. I also saw Colombian chicken soup. The average price of the entrees was about $10. Not bad, but then again, the food wasn't all that great.

I say that because there wasn't anything special about it. Nothing had that "wow" factor, nothing was especially fresh or beautifully presented. It was all average, nothing more.

Back on June 27, 2009, I posted a review of another Colombian restaurant called Kiosco, located in the Marietta Square. I have to say that Kiosco serves much better food, hands down. Could it be that an ethnic restaurant in Marietta is superior to one on Buford Hwy? Up until today I didn't think so, but yes, it's true, folks.

Something you should know is that this restaurant has an odd schedule. They seem to open at an early hour (something like 10am), but they close at 8pm every night. You can find an early dinner here, but not a late one. Maybe it's more of a lunch place.

Verdict: A step down from Kiosco in Marietta.

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