Casa 449, the new place to be
Chefs/owners Ángel Villaseñor and Alfredo Pérez bring wide restaurant experiences in Mexico City, here and beyond to forming their own venture. They have studied in the kitchens of various local popular places as Trio, Vitea, Blanca Blue and private villas. At Casa 449, they aim to provide contemporary cuisine by fusing traditional and nuevo Latin recipes and procedures with cooking techniques of other countries. Their dishes are not spicy but feature many herbs, spices and fruits. Javier Alcantara, another man with many years of service, is the captain of the front of the house and attentive in every way, especially water-filling and changing to clean utensils.
We enjoyed immensely an array of the chef’s favorite dishes of that night’s menu. We started with house-made raviolis stuffed with minced beef cheek ragú. They were small cups topped with crema poblana. Pencil-thin asparagus spears lay alongside. In a basket, an especially tasty slice of baguette had been cooked in garlic and olive oil, turning delightfully crispy. As each course was presented, the two chefs/owners stopped by and explained how and with what ingredients the course was composed.
New to us was a fried quesadilla stuffed with carnitas (some nights fish) and thin red cabbage salad, then cut into portions. They came with a concasse of tomato, smoked morita chile and cumin.
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Halved slices of roasted octopus were sautéed in onion and garlic to the extremely tender state, likeable to even diners who dislike this ‘mollusk’. A long slice of eggplant came with a martajada cover, a hand-crushed tomato, chile, onion, garlic and yellow lemon (limón real) sauce and decorated with droplets of light green zucchini purée. A thin shave of Parmesan cheese adorned the dish.
A specialty of the house is the braised short rib. Atop the meat, which had fallen off the bone and perfectly tender, was a large leaf of quelites, wild Mexican greens with sharp citrusy flavors. Underneath lay the rich au jus from the eight hours of meat roasting. The presentation featured halves of button mushrooms and onion purée.
Every night offers a dessert del la día. Tonight, it was a strawberry tart starting with a house-made pastry tart shell (pâte sablée) which had browned slightly from the baking and the sugar. It held a smooth vanilla cream and slices of strawberry covering it. On the side was a smooth, rich vanilla ice cream dusted with chocolate sprinkles.
The men have established a destination restaurant. Diners have praised the food in every turn. A return visit will be for their breakfast choices which may include toreado or rancheros breakfast, omelets, eggs in various styles, red or green chilaquiles, pancakes, waffles, and French toast. Also, I will sample soon an often-offered dinner, cerdo (pork) mole, with a repeat of the short rib. Five Stars.
Francisco I. Madero 448 at Jacarandas
South Side Romantic Zone
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
322 688 7000
8am-2pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday also 6-10pm. Closed Tuesday.
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