Rochester, NY is a long way from Mexico and La Casa proves it. The food is bland and not plated well. The atmosphere is very very noisy, There are no free chips and salsa. Pricing far exceeds that quality of the food. However, if you are into going out with a bunch of friends to drink, get loud, and follow that with some slightly Mexican themed food, you have come to the right place.
On a Saturday night we had a 35 minute wait for a table for two. Our table was just to the left of the front door. When the door was opened there was a strong draft of cold air across our table. This was in May. When December rolls around, diners sitting at this table will get snow on their food.
We opted for the made-at-your-table guacamole as a starter. The concept sounds great, but the execution is lacking. The avocado used was not quite ripe. The amount of onion, cilantro, and other ingredients was to large for a single avocado. The result was lumpy and only reminiscent of good guacamole. The chips served with the guacamole were sub-standard to supermarket chips.
I ordered pork tamales. Which, when brought to the table looked kind of authentic in that they were wrapped in corn husks. Unfortunately, they were dry, lacked flavor, and contained the tiniest amount of pork.
The rice, beans (re-fried and black), and salad were served on a separate plate which created the illusion of a lot of food. The rice was bland and cool. The re-fried beans were cold had the consistency of gravy spread in a circle about an 8th of an inch deep. The black beans, all 20 or so of them, were also cold. The salad was unremarkable and seemed out of place, but acted more of a garnish for the rice and beans. The re-fried beans were spread out so thinly that they appeared to be what I might leave on a plate after finishing my meal. From the serving size, you might expect that re-fried beans were a very expensive commodity.
My dining partner ordered carnitas which turned out to be untrimmed pork chunks that were very fatty. They arrived at the table as a baseball sized chunk that had to be teased apart and the fat removed to make it edible.
For dessert we ordered flan. If you Google flan images you will see that flan is a simple egg custard that is served with a caramel sauce. La Casa serves flan with a maraschino cherry on top and a raspberry and drizzled raspberry and chocolate sauce. There were puffs of whipped creme around the plate. This presentation is very distant from authentic flan and only served to and by people who do not know or understand flan. If flan is any good there is no need for whipped cream or any other accompaniments. The actual La Casa flan was mediocre at best.
Overall, La Casa is typical of Rochester, NY Mexican restaurants with regard to food quality. You will never mistake it for authentic Mexican food unless you consider south of the border to be Pennsylvania. The food lacks in areas of preparation, flavor, spice, and presentation. For what you get, it is overpriced. The service is O.K., but the servers have little to work with.
If your first priority is to hang out with friends in a Mexican themed bar where you can be loud and have a good time, La Casa is for you.
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