Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cafe Casa aka Casa Vino: Berkeley Wine Bar

Saturday Night Date: October 2, 2010 @ 5:40 PM

Too lazy to drive to the City and armed with Groupon for Cafe Casa aka Casa Vino, Enrique and I decided to stay on our side of the bay for our date night. 

When we arrived at Casa Vino's parking lot, I was not prepared to find a homey-looking restaurant. The website mentions "casual" but I was not expecting a "country-ish"  square building that was more of  like a track home. 

The tables were unadorned simple square tables. No white linens here.  And "rent-a-chair" wooden chairs for seating. Despite its non-sophisticated image at first glance, its attempts to cozy-up the place were successful such as placing a wine bottle at each table for water instead of a pitcher.  The "wine barrel tables" were actually ingenous and added sophistication to the place.

Casa Vino is a more of a wine bar than a dining destination.  It is definitely serious about its wine. At the bar were patrons who seemed to be enjoying glasses after generous glasses of wine (about 6 or more oz per pour.)

Despite my not-so-encouraging description of Casa Vino, the place is cozy. We got there while the sun was still out but once it got dark, the place was charming and cozy with fairy lights. 

We were seated by the host who was also the bartender. After taking our order, he stayed at the bar and entertained a group of people who were into serious wine-tasting and drinking.  Our server was neither friendly nor rude, just appeared stressed and hurried. Service was slow and although not neglectful, was unattentive.

Despite the initial shock about the restaurant's appearance, I enjoyed my glass of California champagne ($6). Well-chilled, crisp, sweet and generously poured, I asked for a second glass which is pretty rare for me when dining out. 

For starters we had Fries with Rosemary, Garlic and Cheese ($6.50). The fries were garlicky and fragrant with rosemary. However, they were too overly done and crispy for my taste.

Enrique had the Choice cut Rib Eye Steak  Served with 4 Plump Prawns, Mushrooms, Grilled Onions and choice of Mashed Potatoes and Veggies ($25).   Although the steak was a little dry, according to him, it was good. The fact that he did not ask for steak sauce was a great sign that he liked the steak!  He gave me two of his prawns and said that he enjoyed the garlicky mashed potato.

I had the Wild Caught Grilled Mahi Mahi with Rice Pilaf and Asparagus ($17). The fish was crusted and flavorful with herbs and cooked just right.  The asparagus spears were still crunchy and not overcooked. I enjoyed my meal.

For dessert Enrique and I shared the Apple Cranberry Crisp ($6).  It was okay. The oats were undercooked but I liked the peanuts that were mixed in with the crisp.

Overall, Casa Vino aka Cafe Casa is a casual, homey, unpretentious neighborhood wine bar.  I thought that the food was something I could have made at home-- comforting, filling and  home-cooked. There was nothing fabulous about Casa Vino's decor or food.   However, Enrique and I left full, satisfied and feeling okay.

Tab: $59 after $25 Groupon, Diet Coke, tax and 20% tip.

Foodie Girl's Ratings:  3
Ambiance: 3
Food:         3
Wine:        4
Value:       4


0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)

Cafe Casa on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. YUM! The food looks amazing and the place does seem cozy. Nice find!



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