Restaurants & Bars 2

Casa Vasca - Eat It There and Take It Home!

Reynold | Feb 2, 200811:06 AM

We attended an event at the Prudential arena in Newark and decided to eat at Casa Vasca beforehand. Good thing, too, because the restaurant proved to be a much better deal than the entertainment. It is an easy 10 minute walk from the arena to 141 Elm Street, at the corner of Prospect St. The restaurant bills its cooking as Basque, which is mostly not strictly the case. Nevertheless, there are many interesting and unusual menu choices, and the food is delicious. The menu of the day listed breaded loin of pork, white beans and pork with sausage stew, veal on bone stew, fried small whiting, and some 20 other items. The regular menu was also extensive and disclosed a few authentic Basque dishes such as bacalao al pil-pil. We started with the soup, which we did not order but came with the meal, Cream of Red Beans with Vegetables (photo 1). The “cream” was a vegetable purée. It was not vegetarian – there were nuggets of chorizo in it – and it was very flavorful. We ordered a bottle of white Basque wine, a txakoli by Talai Berri (photo 2). It had a nice mineral flavor, was slightly sparkling (what is termed a “crackling” wine), a thankfully reasonable alcohol level of 11% (so you can enjoy that third glass without ending up under the table), and only $22! We had Mariscada en Salsa Verde ($18.25, photo 3) from the regular menu. The green sauce was little more than parsley, but the seafood broth was insanely tasty, and every piece of seafood was wonderful. From the specials menu we ordered Roasted Pork Shank with Broccoli Rabe ($17.00, photo 4). These proved to be either 2 fairly small shank pieces or 2 very large pig hocks. The meat had been smoked and it was soul-satisfyingly delicious. We were also served sides of crispy fried potatoes, like heavy potato chips (photo 5), and yellow rice (photo 6). These potatoes, as you may imagine, were addictive. The service was good if not overly attentive. It is a popular place and the food is highly appreciated. We saw three or four parties leaving with their stashes of leftovers. We found the servings too large to consume and too good to abandon, so we took our leftovers home also. The check for two people including tax was $61.25.

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