Collingswood, NJ restaurants have been on a roll lately. First, Craig LaBan reviewed Javier (poorly, but whatever). Then the Food Network filmed a grilled cheese-themed episode of Throwdown With Bobby Flay at The Pop Shop. Now the Philadelphia Daily News is reviewing Casona, a new Cuban/Nuevo Latino restaurant from the people behind Mixto and Tierra Colombiana:
Cuban Springroll ($6.95) features pork, ham, cheese and mojo. The spring roll wrappers were crunchy, and this combo was an example of the “nuevo,” but I found the traditional Empanada Queso ($6.95) superior as morsel-in-a-casing. The Ensalada Citrica ($9.95), or Citrus Salad, was a disappointment. As a veteran “rubber necker” in a restaurant, I saw many a delicious-looking salad on other diners’ tables. I should have taken better notice of what they were ordering, but was taken by the description on the menu of hearts of palm, avocado and orange slices with cranberry vinaigrette. The dressing was too harsh, and the salad was loaded with those soft canned black olives. While the Vegetarian Platter ($15.95) certainly held no appeal to me, the noncarnivore of the group enjoyed the plantains, beans, rice and vegetables. Personally, I would have liked an accompanying sauce to liven things up and attention to presentation to make it seem less like a clump of sides. Ropa Vieja ($16.95) is a very traditional Cuban dish. It translates into “old clothes,” which doesn’t sound very appetizing but certainly is descriptive of this dish of seasoned shredded meat. The meat is cooked to the point of, well, old ragged clothes. Accompanied by creole sauce, white rice and plantains, it was worth a try for authenticity, but not a keeper. More to our liking was another traditional dish, Lechon Asado ($17.95). The slow-roasted, citrus-marinated pork was also shredded, but the texture and flavor was much more appealing than the flank steak.
[Image via Philadelphia Daily News]