Well, thanks to bluebell's CH tip , we finally made it here tonight. What they said when we entered was that tapas were available upstairs and the dinner was available only downstairs. So we stayed topside for tapas and enjoyed some really good food. I really like it that attractive design is such a part of the experience at Casa B. From the entrance door handle and the punched out restnt name in the awning- to the color and lighting fixtures and candles and furnishings- someone has a very good eye. In this chic upstairs area, it has the feeling of a small stylish European restaurant. And it's quiet; you can easily have a conversation!
We wanted to sample a lot of things and did, but we were really starving when we arrived and were quite surprised at how long it took to get our food- from beginning to end. Maybe they were slammed downstairs; we'll never know. Service was warm and friendly. Our red sangria was one of the night's highlights. A much more powerful version than others I've sampled, it was bright w/ brandy or cointreau and a surprisingly appealing component of cinnamon (<but I hate cinnamon in sangria> she said.) Each generous glass had a good number of citrus slices.
Our favorite tapas seemed almost all to be fried. Chorizo spider fritters were generously sized and topped by chevre and a mound of delightful roasted peppers. Bacalao fritters were, in a surprising turn, topped by bacalao itself , and they were better than any i've had before (and a major cut above those at Toro)- noticeably creamy and subtle. Two dishes really won us over:
Shrimp stuffed with mashed yucca were wrapped in bacon and served over a balsamic reduction with a cilantro citrus sauce on the side; and the Beef picadillo filled yucca croquette with roasted pepper aioli- is the perfect incarnation of the gross greasy versions i have had of this at various local brazilian bakeries. Man, i could live on these things.
The cheese bacadillos were fine but would improve greatly with the use of a cheese with more character. The mushroom crostini were fine but messy. The eggplant and caramelized onions that we thought might be like Toro's- was instead a fried eggplant sandwich with a caramelized onion filling. My requested lemon helped alot with the zing they lacked. The ham croquettes really surprised/disappointed me with their lack of balance. Parmesan? way outweighed the ham component and they just didn't work for me. We may have missed them if they were on the menu, but vegetables and greens were sorely lacking. Some salad and greens options would be nice.
For dessert, Mama's Cheese Flan was a typical dense flan and delicious, but $9 it was not worth, even with the side cookie thins dabbed with dulce de leche. In fact, i would have to say that while we really enjoyed the food, the final tab was even higher than we had expected. Most of our plates had been $9, $10 or $12, and had 2- 3 pieces per plate.(3 shrimp for $12; 2 beef yucca croquettes for $9). Our post-tax, pre-tip tab was $135. But then again, we were starving and we are big eaters. But then again, we did not leave feeling stuffed. We did enjoy ourselves at Casa B, and their more unusual menu is surely a welcome addition to the Boston scene. I hope their prices will not scare off too many potential customers. Certainly this stylish venue is many style cuts above most other restaurants in Somerville, and it provides a lovely spot to meet with friends and have a leisurely time of nibbling and drinking. With so many attractive aspects, it will be fun to see how they grow and develop.