RST, ErikM and I went to Cassava's this evening hoping for a Brazilian dinner. We found the place closed for reconstruction until mid April. On a lark, I phoned the number on the building and located the co-owner Peter.
Peter came out to the street to greet us, then brought us in to check the interior remodeling. Already a lot has been roughed out to give a solid impression of what is planned. In their limited experience, they have observed more large parties than couples coming for dinner. So the booths will go to allow for tables and chairs for greater flexibility. They will also have live Brazilian music Thursday-Saturday nights. The new menu will be half Brazilian and half American with steaks, shrimp and such.
IN our initial visit, we learned Peter also owns the neighboring butcher shop. He had advised they processed a VERY large quantity of pork lechon for Christmas. Given the size of the shop and quantity of pork prepared, it was staggering. I inquired if we could see where these lechons were cooked. He took us to the backroom where there were four large pizza ovens. We also saw two pigs smelling heavenly of garlic and pepper, waiting to start cooking at 11 PM for an early morning pick up.
They will also roast Mojo de Ajo Cuban pigs. I learned the bitter orange marinade prevents the pigs skin from obtaining a crisp crackling. Instead, it is a leathery texture when cooked. They also prepare Greek-style lambs available by order.
Peter made an interesting observation related to lamb: he prefers lamb from New Zealand first because it has a more gamely flavor from being free range, 2nd place is Australia for nearly the same reasons but not quite as gamey and a distant 3rd was domestic American lamb because it didn't taste gamey enough.
Though we were somewhat disappointed not to dine there. We thoroughly appreciated the education and graciousness Peter extended to us. I'll be posting once they finalize their re-opening.
T&C Meat and Liquor
2810-12 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647