Latest Adventures

El Caserio, Silver Lake


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To further pursue my desire of being more adventurous this year, I accepted the invitation to El Caserio from a friend for lunch to celebrate another friend's birthday. It serves authentic Ecuadorian food, which was something I have never had the pleasure of sampling.

El Caserio has two locations in Los Angeles; the original restaurant is located at the intersection of Temple and Virgil, and presumably, after finding success, the owners opened a more upscale version on Silver Lake Boulveard. When I walked in the original El Caserio, I found the place to be somewhat charming, and the menu items to be tantalizing.

Our server brought us fresh warm bread, along with some butter and some salsa. The bread was almost immediately consumed by the entire group because it was really good, that, and we were pretty hungry. It was crispy on the outside and pillowy tender on the inside. Add a pat (or two) of butter, and we're in business. You also had the option of dipping the bread in some homemade salsa, but let me warn you, the salsa is not for the weak. Two words describe the salsa: zesty and fiery.
After several rounds of wavering from one item to the next, I finally chose the Churrasco, also known as Bistec a lo Pobré. It is charcoal broiled flank steak served with french fries, rice, a fried egg, plantains and a small side salad. The meat was very tasty, well marinated and seasoned. I really liked the crunchiness of the fries and one can never go wrong with a fried egg, in my opinion. I could have sworn that they added some butter to the rice, because there was an added flavor to it, which I loved, and the plantains were also very yummy. The salad, however, was lacking - it was lacking dressing. But the little bit of dressing I tasted was good.
My buddy ordered the Carne Apanada, which was breaded steak served with rice, tomatoes, fried plantains and a potato patty. One bite of the Ecuadorian version of chicken fried steak almost made me wish I had ordered it instead. It was very well seasoned.
Another friend ordered the Camarones Tricolores, or in other words, shrimp sauteed with olive, red and green peppers, garlic, onions and parsley, and served with rice and fried plantains. I personally thought that the shrimp was slightly overcooked, but it had really great flavor.
Yet another friend got the Petto de Pollo alla Milanese, which was breaded chicken breast with potato patty, rice and encebollado, which I gathered to be some type of pickled onion. Unfortunately, I did not get to try this.
I did, sample a piece of the Lomo Saltado, which was steak sauteed with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and served with French fries and rice. The steak was very tender and very tasty, even tastier than the other pieces of meat I've had.

It was overall a great lunch, and I would definitely go back again.

El Caserio, 309 N. Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles