Sunday, February 5, 2012

FRIDA Restaurant Group Brings Casa Azul Cantina to Westwood

With all the new restaurants popping up in the past year, Westwood is looking to be a pretty good place to dine. One of the newest addition is Casa Azul Cantina from the FRIDA Restaurant Group. Frida in Beverly Hills has been a popular destination since it opened in 2002, introducing westsiders to more than tacos and burritos. UCLA students and staff alike can now be grateful for a Mexican place within walking distance that's not Acapulco (even if they all have to admit they've enjoyed the $1 margaritas there ..).

Casa Azul takes its name (and decor) from Frida Kahlo's blue house Coyoacán, and many of the items from Frida make their appearance here as well.

Tamarind Margarita
Speaking of margaritas, I was happy to find tamarind margarita on the menu, even if it's frozen blended! ($9)

Prefer them shaken? Try the Matador Special ($10) made with fresh muddled cucumber, agave, tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice. If you like it spicy, the jalapenos in the "El Diablo" will give you the kick you want.

Matador Special
The aren't martini-sized drinks either, the glasses they used were actually really big (and heavy).

Shrimp appetizers abound; I prefer the Gambas al Ajillo (fresh shrimp prepared with olive oil, garlic, guajillo chile, and lime juice) to the Camarones Aguachile. I've only had camarones aguachile with raw shrimp before, and even though the sauce was good here I thought the shrimp was overcooked. In contrast, they were tender in the gambas al ajillo dish.
Garlic Shrimp


Their entrees are huge, with plenty of sides to fill you up. The Arrachera Norteña is a charbroiled skirt steak served not only with the usual rice and beans, but also a chicken mole enchilada, guacamole, and nopalito (cactus) salad.
Parts of the skirt steak was wonderfully flavorful yet tender, but there were also parts that were gristly. I suppose with such a big piece of steak, that's hard to avoid. My favorite part of the dish was actually the chicken mole, which fortunately you can also order as a whole entree!
Chicken Mole
I'm usually wary of chicken but they're moist here and of course, the sweet mole is great with anything.

The taco selections were more interesting than most, also, including Tacos Gobernador, filled with sautéed shrimp, jalapeño, and melted cheese (the first time I had this was also at Mariscos Chente).

For dessert, get the crispy, cream-filled churros with cajeta sauce! These can stand their own against other churros in town.

While I still prefer places like La Casita Mexicana, Westsiders understandably have a hard time making it to East LA. For those people, Casa Azul provides a better and more interesting alternative to the other Mexican places in the area. The prices at Casa Azul are also pretty reasonable, and there are specials every day: $3.95 Margarita Monday (it's not $1 but it's bigger and much better), $2 Taco Tuesdays, $3.95 Enchilada Wednesdays (with $5 sangrias), and $5 Martini Thursdays.

Casa Azul Cantina
10853 Lindbrook Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 209-0666
Casa Azul Cantina on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: this meal was hosted


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital