Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area Tapas

Cazuela's-tapas in Santana Row

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Cazuela's-tapas in Santana Row

Ken Hoffman | Jul 29, 2003 01:50 PM

Santana Row continues to exceed expectations rather dramatically. The place was packed on Monday night and
parking is already becoming a problem. This place is really an urban planning bypass...forgo urban renewal by building your own idealized version from scratch. Hat's off to Walt Disney for figuring this out 50 years ago.

Cazuela's looks a lot like Left at Albuquerque but there is something dramatically diffrent going on food wise. This is not your white bread version Stanford B-school of Amerified Mexi-crap but an attempt to recreate the sophisticated tastes of Mexico City in a prettified setting.

The menu is small items, none more than 12$. We
started with sopas. Nicely tenderized pork and chicken were piled on dense corn cakes. Nice flavor--not mind blowing but good comfort food. Guacamole (6$)
is made table side with 2 whole avocados and spiciness metered to your taste. Obviously very fresh tasting.
No chips at this place...you are supplied with supple
flour tortillas served in an oven mit with a pita bread style pocket.

The cactus salad was ho-hum. The cactus was the consistencey of canned green beans and the dressing was
vinegary. Lamb shank comes wrapped in banana leaf and was very fine--soft strands of lamb pulled off the bone
at a leisurely pace was the meal's hightlight.
The rice with plantain did not come close to the fried plantain at Cha Cha Cha and I would say skip it.

There are a load of things left to try so this snap shot is incomplete. The place was packed and has been from day one. I am sure that better Mexican food can be had on Middlefield in Redwood City but for a more formal and upscale locale, at least the owners are trying.

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