2016-08-31 / Restaurant of the Week

Tu Casa

Make any night special at Tu Casa on Steinway Street or their other locations on Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens or Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills. Either way “Tu Casa” es mi casa…for a lively, friendly atmosphere, hearty, flavorful, Peruvian and pan-Latino cuisine, fabulous cocktails and great service, seven days a week. Join them for a fiesta Happy Hour each day from 11am to 7pm with $5 Margaritas, sangritas, wine and $6 Pisco sours and lychee martinis. Tu Casa sizzles with live music on Friday and Saturday. The charming owner, Willy, welcomes everyone to Tu Casa with a smile and a promise of a delicious meal

The cool, modern space features an inviting bar at the front offering a wide variety of cocktails, beer, wine, and their wonderful sangria that’s mixed up on the spot. We started with frosty Margaritas served traditionally or flavored with passionfruit, mango, strawberry, or pomegranate. Relax with a minty mojito, daiquiri, caipirinha, or one of their signature cocktails such as “La Flaca,” “El Macho,” or “Tu Casa,” made with rum, liqueur and fruit juices. If you prefer, non-alcoholic, fresh fruit juices are offered such as mango, guayaba, blackberry and a traditional Peruvian drink made from purple corn called “ chicha morada.”

Tu Casa offers an impressive array of appetizers, salads and mains made with fine ingredients, including lots of fresh fish and seafood, hearty meats, and chicken. Latin cuisine is not spicy but very flavorful. If you want more heat in your food, just add one of their house made hot sauces brought to your table. We jumped right in with one of my favorite seafood aperitivos called ceviche, a salad of cold seafood including plump shrimp, flaky fish, and calamari marinated in fresh lime juice, cilantro and red onion. You’ve also got to try at least one of their crispy, golden empanadas; a flaky pastry filled with ground beef, chicken, or cheese with two to an order ($5). These make great snack at the bar too, as well as fresh guacamole with chips, or a platter of their incredibly tender, crunchy, fried calamari ($13.95) that offers plenty to share, with zesty sauce on the side. Chuzos are skewers of grilled chicken or shrimp that are also great to start with along with a healthy garden salad topped with sliced avocado and house dressing ($7). This refreshing salad could be a great lunch or dinner, topped with grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp.

After the fabulous ceviche I wanted more fish, so Stephanie, our attentive and delightful server recommended Corvino a lo Macho, a flaky, white sea trout smothered in calamari, crab legs, shrimp, and clams in a light, creamy seafood sauce that was sublimely delicious spooned over the rice side dish ($24.85). If you prefer salmon, it’s prepared similarly at Tu Casa. Corvina is also prepared sudada, which is steamed with white wine and tomato, with lots of fluffy rice on the side. You can choose white rice or savory yellow rice to soak up all that delicious sauce. You can also have your trout gently fried to a golden finish. A typical entree called jalea is a seafood feast of calamari, shrimp, fish and clams on a bed of fried yuca, topped with a zesty lime and cilantro dressing. Other seafood entrees include shrimp in garlic and white wine sauce over rice or shrimp sautéed with onions, tomato and cilantro, served with rice and fries.

If you’re a caveman, or if you just love meat, Tu Casa is the place for you. Pernil is a very old school dish of pork slow-roasted for 6 hours, served with rice mixed with beans that have also spent a long time in the pot. My caveman proclaimed this meal “simple and delicious”. Juicy, tender skirt steak is marinated and grilled to your liking with fragrant chimichurri sauce, rice and salad ($24.95). Pork chops are thick and juicy and can be grilled or fried to order. Hearty beef stew or chicken stew makes a satisfying lunch or dinner. Chicharrones de pollo are tender chunks of white meat chicken, quickly fried until golden and crisp, Caribbean style, served with fried plantains called tostones. Rice and beans are super important in Latino cuisine, and Tu Casa makes the best pinto beans, cooked without pork fat so they are light, flavorful, and vegetarian-approved. These beans, along with white or yellow rice are the perfect accompaniment for the rotisserie chicken, which will make your mouth water. Side dishes include crispy tostones, maduros, which are sweet plantains, delicious fried yuca, and French fries.

If you can finish everything on your plate, you deserve a prize! Even if you take half of it home, as we did, you should still reward yourself with Tu Casa’s decadent desserts that include tres leches cake made with three kinds of milk, cool, creamy flan caramelo, cheesecake, or 3-layer chocolate fudge cake. Each goes very well with a steaming cup of coffee, and why not add a shot of Kahlua or Tia Maria liqueur for the perfect night cap.

Tu Casa is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with great, inexpensive lunch specials. They deliver and offer off-site catering for your next family or business event and your guests are sure to be impressed. They’re open from 11am to 11pm on weekdays and until midnight or later on the weekends. Don’t forget the live music on the weekends and Happy Hour specials. Whichever location you visit, a meal at Tu Casa is soul satisfying and so delicious. Take advantage of the long, holiday weekend and make Tu Casa your home away from home for fine pan-Latin Cuisine and cocktails.

30-10 Steinway, Astoria


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