Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Restaurant Review - Casa de Soria

Casa De Soria
1961 E Thompson Blvd, Ventura
Phone: 805-648-2083
Cuisine: Mexican

Tonight I took my wife and son to Casa de Soria in Ventura. This was our second visit. The first was on a Friday night and the place was so packed, we waited thirty plus minutes to be seated. The experience from that point on was identical to tonight, so I will talk mainly about tonight.

It was much less crowded tonight, so we were seated immediately. We like to sit at booths since my son rebels against high chairs and booster seats and we can contain him in a booth. The booths here are a little narrow, and sitting across from a pregnant woman and having the table touching both of our stomachs gets a little uncomfortable. This is the only downside to the restaurant.

The service is amazing. Before we had settled in a waiter brought us chips and salsa and asked for our drink order. He was very courteous and promptly brought our drinks back. He came back just as we were ready to order. As we waited for our food the chips began to run low, and a waiter promptly gave us a new bowl of chips. We asked the waiter for some spicier salsa, which he also promptly brought us. More on the salsa to come. A moment later our food arrived. We had waited less than 5 minutes from the time we ordered. This was the same speedy service we received on the previous visit, even with the huge crowd. Our waiter came back and refilled our drinks as we needed them. As we were eating, he noticed that our bowl of chips had a lot of broken pieces. He told us it was no good and brought us a fresh bowl with larger, unbroken chips. Once we were done, he quickly brought us our check. We were in and out in less than thirty minutes.

The food here is among the best I have had in California, and definitely in Ventura County. This counts all food, and not just Mexican food. There are two things I order when I want to get a feel for a new Mexican restaurant: shredded beef and a chile relleno. From those two items I can tell if I am going to like a place or not. Technically the salsa is a third indicator, but it is not something I have to order so I won't count it for the moment. The first visit I ordered a mini burrito with shredded beef and a chile relleno combo plate. For a mini burrito, it was pretty substantial. Between the two items and the chips and salsa, I had a very satisfying and filling meal.

Tonight I ordered the Carne Ranchero, which is basically Carne Asada with a side of guacamole and pico de gallo. The meat was incredibly tender, and there was plenty of it. They served it with a choice of flour or corn tortillas. I favor flour tortillas typically, so I ordered the flour. They served two large, apparently home-made flour tortillas piping hot with my meal. I could have used a third one, but I am trying to cut back a little on carbs at the moment, so I didn't mind only having two. This was the best Carne Asada I have had in a restaurant. My wife was pretty impressed too when she tasted it. She has only ordered the Chile Verde so far, which she loves.

The salsa is pretty mild, and my two year old son has no problem eating it. I asked for a spicier salsa and it was really good. It tasted a little like a Chile Relleno, so I am guessing it had more than one kind of pepper in it. It had a nice aftertaste, and that is when you feel the heat. I have had far spicier salsas, but this one was both spicy and great-tasting. In my opinion it doesn't matter how hot it is if it tastes bad. I would definitely recommend the spicy salsa.

On a side note, my wife has banned myself and my mom from judging heat for anything she eats. Things I thing are ridiculously mild have burned her mouth more than a couple of times. I had her taste the mild salsa tonight so I could be sure I gave a fair review of the heat. Again, my two year old could eat it without drinking any water, so it is a pretty safe bet when I call it mild.

The service and food here are really good. I give a 9 out of 10 for service, and a 9 for the food. My wife and I intend to become regular customers here.

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