We had nearly given up on restaurants in Santana Row, but the other night we were introduced to Las Cazuelas. The place itself is lovely. We sat outside on the south side (outside tables in the front are right on the street, but on the south they're fenced in), and even though the view is still mainly parking and construction, the landscaping and architecture create a touch of Oaxaca, a vision reinforced by the blue and white dishes and the handblown Mexican glassware.
When we sat down we were served warm corn tortillas with three kinds of salsa, and tortillas kept coming until we really couldn't ask for more. For starters we had jicama salad and ceviche. The jicama was cut french-fry style, and I would have preferred it shredded (I have no idea about authenticity here), but the combination with grapefruit and spices was great, and it was more than enough for the three of us. The ceviche was fresh and perfectly marinated. I think it would be a great entree.
For an entree I had shrimp in tamarind mole. Five shrimp seemed skimpy, but the mole was rich and distinctive. My husband had lamb with mole in a steamed banana leaf and thought it was excellent. This is definitely not taqueria food.
We stuck to beer, but there's a list of specialty drinks, including house margaritas that looked great, mojitos and caparinhos (the traditional Brazilian ass-kicker whose name I can never quite spell). There's also a house sangria.
I have no idea if this is a chain, but it doesn't act like one. Service was smooth, ambience was lovely. We thought it at least as good as Maya, far more relaxed, and for those of us who prefer the climate in the South Bay, way closer to home. Altogether a refreshing find.
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