Well, folks, we reached a verdict today, so this will be my last report. Well, while serving jury duty, that is.
And as my last, I decided to go back to where I sort of started my chowhounding in Stamford when I moved here more than 5 years ago - Casa Villa (then called Fabi's). I hadn't been to casa villa in a few years until two weeks ago when I went with my daughter. It had played second fiddle to Rolando's which was just up a few doors. Now that that establishment is gone... casa villa is it.
When I went a few weeks ago, I went for dinner. And I was surprised that it was quite good. Better than I'd remembered it. So I had high expectations once again for the place.
Unfortunately, it was just so-so this time. I had two tacos - carnitas and al pastor. First the Carnitas. It was ok - definitely the better of the two. It was tender and moist, but didn't have that extra kick I look for in carnitas. First, they'd shredded it so much that it was more shredded than small chunks. Also, there wasn't that extra bit of slight sweetness that comes from the caramelization when the carnitas gets its last crispness in the lard. That said, it was pretty good.
Now for the al pastor. Wow, what a disappointment. Casa Villa used to excel in al pastor - at least for the surrounding area. they had great, spicy chunks of pork, mixed it with pineapple and cooked it together for a brief bit before throwing it on the tortillas. About the only thing they could have done to improve it was to roast it on a spit like it's really done in mexico.
Anyhow, what I had today would hardly pass for al pastor. The pork was more grease than it was that distinct spicy red marinade from al pastor. Plus, there wasn't much flavor at all to it. And last of all, it was overcooked and dry. One of the worst tacos I've had in a while.
It's weird. This place has been around for ages, but when I go there, it's usually totally different from the last time I'd been there (admittedly, usually a year in between). This leads me to believe that though the place has been there and the name has stayed, I'm guessing that they've gone through a bunch of ownership changes - or else their cooks are completely autonomous and don't have any consistency between them.
At any rate, based on my two visits this month, here's what I'd recommend: the chicken and carnitas tacos, as well as the carne asada plate.
Completely unrelated. I took the chance to walk up the street by the place cteats and I had mentioned in a former post, regarding a new spot with a "grand opening" sign next to Antojitos Chapines. Turns out the place is just an extension of Chapines - they've more than doubled their seating.
Last... has anyone ever seen that place on Stillwater called - I think - Corelli's Pastry? It's an old italian bakery/pastry shop? Anyhow, my guess is that it's been there for decades. In passing it today, I noticed something I'd never noticed before... on the awning it now says, "Colombian Restaurant and Bakery." Has that always been there and I've missed it? Or, as I suspect, has it changed ownership and they are now changing it into a Colombian restaurant?